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Ott headed for Austin city manager job

Thursday, January 17, 2008 by Austin Monitor

The Austin City Council has selected Marc Ott of Fort Worth to step into the shoes of retiring City Manager Toby Futrell, according to an official familiar with the Council’s deliberations. Council members are expected to make the announcement this morning at the regular City Council meeting.


That official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that the Council met with the other finalist, Jelynne Burley of San Antonio, Wednesday afternoon and informed her of its decision before meeting with Ott.


After meeting with Ott, the Council asked its search firm, Arcus, to negotiate with him so that the contract terms could be announced this morning. He is expected to begin work for Austin in mid-February. Futrell announced last summer that she intends to retire on May 31. She is expected to work for the city in some kind of advisory role after Ott begins his service.


Ott will be Austin’s 20th city manager since the system was instituted in 1926 and the first African American to take on the job.


Ott, who turned 52 this month, is a native of Michigan who has held a variety of positions in cities both small and large during his 26-year career. He got his start in municipal government as an intern in the City Administrator’s office in Southfield, Mich. He told citizens at Tuesday night’s public meeting that he found a mentor there who helped spark his passion for city government and showed him the impact it could have on people’s lives. Ott said he set his sights early on becoming the city manager of “one of America’s premiere cities”, and that goal has guided his career path.


From Southfield, Ott took jobs in a series of larger cities within Michigan, including Jackson, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo. He served as Assistant City Manager for that city before being promoted to City Manager, a job he held for four years.  He then moved to Rochester Hills, Mich., where he served as City Administrator. That city has a “strong-mayor” form of government, in which the mayor is the executive head of the city.


After four years in that job, Ott moved to Texas and joined the City of Fort Worth as Assistant City Manager for Infrastructure Services. That includes oversight of the Transportation and Public Works, Aviation, Engineering, and Water/Wastewater departments.


During his more than five years in Fort Worth, Ott has worked on projects ranging from the SH 121 toll road in southwest Tarrant County to the Mobility and Air Quality Plan, which is an effort to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.


Ott is married with two children. He is a graduate of Oakland University in Michigan, where he received a Masters in Public Administration degree in 1981. He is a member of the International City Management Association, the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, and the Texas City Management Association. His hobbies include art and horseback riding.

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