Long-time civil rights leader to assume seat on Garland City Council
By Gwendolyn H. Daniels
Feeling an “obligation to dig deeper and to support his city in a greater role,” Ricky C. McNeal stepped down from his position as president of the national award-winning NAACP Garland, Texas Unit to fill a vacated position on the Garland City Council.
After the departure of David Gibbons, former District 1 City Councilman, McNeal, referencing decades of volunteer service in Garland, explained, “A group of community leaders encouraged and inspired me to submit my application.”
McNeal was among 11 applicants who interviewed for the position and went through all proper channels of notifying the NAACP Texas State Conference who contacted the NAACP national office on his behalf. The only task left was notifying the faithful NAACP volunteers whom he served as president and whom he “so dearly admires.”
On December 8, 2020, McNeal held a called meeting with members of the Garland NAACP Executive Committee, announced his appointment to the Garland City Council and resigned his position as president, for now.
The saving grace to the NAACP is President McNeal will only serve on the City Council through May 1, 2021, when Garland will hold its general election and fill the District 1 seat with an elected councilperson. It is stipulated in the Garland City Charter that a resident serving temporarily is ineligible to run for the Council seat in the very next election.
A native of Jonesboro, LA, McNeal holds a BS degree in Business Administration from Louisiana Tech in Ruston. He moved to Dallas in 1987 and met his bride while interning as a new hire at Electronic Data Systems (EDS). In 1994, he and his wife, Najeda Flowers McNeal relocated to Garland, became homeowners, and now, after 30 years of marriage, they have three adult daughters and two sons-in-law: Hillary (Tyler), Hannah (Justin), and their baby girl, Haylea; who is a junior at Midwestern State University.
The McNeals are devoted members of Mt. Hebron Missionary Baptist Church, where Councilman McNeal serves as a deacon and the superintendent of Sunday School.
Once Governor Greg Abbott approves this new Garland appointment, Councilman McNeal will be officially sworn in to represent District 1. In the meantime, he is serving as an ex officio member of the Garland City Council.
As a result of Councilman McNeal’s new position, the NAACP Garland Unit made several temporary appointments that will remain through April 30, 2021. The Honorable Annie Dickson (former Councilwoman in District 2 and NAACP vice president) moved up to the position of president and Dr. Chonda Williams will serve as vice president and secretary. Larry D. Daniels remains in his elected position as Unit treasurer.