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Austin Council to move forward with vote to fire City Manager Cronk

Cronk has faced criticism from councilmembers for the City's response to a winter storm earlier this month.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's Note: A previous version of this story included information obtained through anonymous sources. That information was removed until it can be independently confirmed. Read more about KVUE's reporting practices here.

The Austin City Council will move forward with a vote to fire City Manager Spencer Cronk following his response to last week's winter storm, District 4 Councilmember Chito Vela confirmed to KVUE.

Austin Mayor Kirk Watson and three councilmembers have placed on their Wednesday agenda paying Cronk a severance of a one-year salary and will discuss a "transition plan for an interim city manager."

"I am Austin's city manager and no actions have been taken by the mayor and city council to change my responsibilities or role," City Manager Cronk said in a statement on Saturday night. "I continue to be focused on serving this community and leading our dedicated workforce."

KVUE is independently reaching out to each councilmember's office for an indication of their intentions in any upcoming vote, but none have been willing to reveal their position. Sources in multiple councilmembers' offices indicate to KVUE there is support to proceed with Cronk's firing.

Cronk's position is under review after a winter storm slammed Central Texas last week and left hundreds of thousands of customers without power for over a week. The majority of people who had lost power were Austin Energy customers.

The city council met in a closed-door executive session on Thursday to discuss an item evaluating Cronk's position and employment. Mayor Watson, along with Councilmembers Alison Alter (District 10), Vela (District 4) and Vanessa Fuentes (District 2) sponsored the emergency item.

The council approved a near 11% raise for Cronk in December 2022, raising his salary to $338,190.40. This was his second raise since taking the city manager position in 2017. 

The KVUE Defenders found that Cronk is the second-highest paid city official behind Jackie Sargent, the general manager of Austin Energy.

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