Austin/ Politics & Govt
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Published on March 01, 2024
Nearly 40 Candidates Vie for Austin City Manager Position as Selection Heats UpSource: City of Austin

The hunt for Austin's new top bureaucrat is heating up, with nearly 40 suits throwing their hats into the ring for the city manager gig, reports from local media say. The deadline for applications wrapped on Feb. 26, and Austin's City Council is due to sift through the pile of hopefuls on Tuesday, per an update from Mayor Kirk Watson cited by KXAN.

Watson has been clear that some candidates won't pass muster, not meeting the minimum requirements. But, those left standing will face interviews and a community town hall later in March and early April. The mayor has indicated a preference for having a new city manager picked out by April, stated in an interview with KVUE.

This latest chapter follows last year's dismissal of former city manager Spencer Cronk, who was given the boot by nearly the entire City Council following an ice storm that threw the city into a state of disarray and a failed police deal negotiation. Though Cronk was ousted, he left with a golden parachute totaling about $463,000 in base salary, COBRA payments, and other payouts, as per KXAN's report.

In the interim, Austin has been riding with Jesús Garza as the acting city manager, a familiar face who had the job in the late '90s under, then-Mayor, Watson. It's a twist of fate that Garza, who also helmed a PAC that bankrolled funds for Watson's campaign last year, has taken the reins again. Garza told KXAN about his top priorities during this transitional period.

The process of finding Cronk's successor officially began on Jan. 8, with talent recruiting firm Mosaic at the helm, according to KVUE. Mosaic's role included cracking open the application window, closing it in February, and working alongside the council to pinpoint a group of finalists. The anticipation is, that a new city manager assume the mantle come Sept. 1, 2024, as spelled out by Watson to KVUE last summer.