AUSTIN - Spencer Cronk, the city coordinator of Minneapolis, has been named Austin's new city manager, the Austin City Council announced Tuesday.
It took the council about 2 hours and 15 minutes to unanimously vote for Cronk over Howard Lazarus, the city administrator for Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Mayor Steve Adler said Cronk is a great choice because he has a proven track record of bringing different voices together.
"I am and the council is and this community should be real optimistic about Spencer's ability to help Austin met it's biggest challenges," Adler said.
But not everyone in the community is excited about this choice. Gus Pena, a longtime East Austin resident, said Cronk does not represent the Hispanic community.
"The Hispanic and Latino community is angry because we don't have any Hispanic candidates and the Latino, Hispanic population is growing bigger by the day and the year. We are not represented equally. Where's the transparency, where's the equality? There is none," said Pena.
But City Council Member Greg Casar defended Cronk's minority record.
"Mr. Cronk in Minneapolis lead the effort to make sure that racial equity was the center of their comprehensive training exercise in Minneapolis. He also was a key leader in raising the minimum wage," said Casar.
City staffers are now working on Cronk's compensation package. Mayor Adler doesn't know what Cronk's salary will be but said it will be around the same of what former City Manager Marc Ott made. Ott made around $309,000.
City council has not said yet when Cronk will start.
Cronk, along with Lazarus, was named the city manager finalist in recent weeks before Austin City Council settled on Cronk as the new city manager.
Cronk was the first to meet with the council behind closed doors.
When he spoke with reporters, Cronk said he will use his experience of working in growing urban cities, including New York City, to engage a diverse stakeholder group, ensuring that all voices are heard. He added that he's dealt with issues similar to Austin's affordability crisis.
"Austin is fortunate to have Spencer Cronk as our city's next CEO," said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. "He's excels at bringing people together to address tough community challenges. He's a proven manager who gets Austin's special spirit and soul because it's within him, too."
While the mayor and council create policy, the city manager executes it, serves as CEO of the city and makes key hires; one of the first will need to be the police chief.
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