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Who is Jesús Garza? More about the new interim Austin city manager

Garza was the treasurer of a political committee that donated over $720,000 to Kirk Watson's recent mayoral campaign.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Wednesday, the Austin City Council fired City Manager Spencer Cronk and introduced former city manager Jesús Garza as the interim city manger.

Garza and Austin Mayor Kirk Watson have a long-standing relationship. Garza was the city manager from 1994 until 2002 while Watson was the mayor from 1997 to 2001.

Garza was the treasurer of a political committee that donated to Watson's recent mayoral campaign. Stand Together Austin made at least four donations, totaling over $720,000. According to campaign finance documents, just Tuesday, Garza stepped down from his role in that PAC.

KVUE asked Watson why he chose Garza over the current assistant city managers.

In a statement he wrote: "There aren't a lot of people with the experience and ability to run such a big and complicated operation as the City of Austin. There are even fewer people who are available on a week's notice and willing to take on such a daunting task."

During Garza's eight years as Austin's city manager, the population went from about 550,000 to about 690,000. Before retiring, Garza played a role in the economic expansion of Austin, including revitalizing downtown and opening the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in 1999.

Garza has an extensive resume. He was the deputy general manager at the Lower Colorado River Authority, executive director of the Texas Water Commission and CEO of Seton Health Care Family, just to name a few.

According to The Texas Tribune, Travis County District Attorney José Garza is his nephew.

As he takes over as the new interim city manager, it's unclear how long it will take the City to officially fill that role. The last time, it took over a year before Cronk was hired in 2018.

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