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McCracken gets temp job with Pecan Street Project

Thursday, September 10, 2009 by Austin Monitor

The board of directors of the Pecan Street Project voted unanimously Wednesday to hire former Council Member Brewster McCracken as federal grants manager for the new non-profit corporation, a temporary position.


Pecan Street’s backers say the project will create an open platform “Energy Internet” to integrate clean energy and smart grid water and smart grid electricity systems.


McCracken will be paid through a federal Economic Development Administration grant—administered by the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG)— and matching funds from the University of Texas, Environmental Defense Fund and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. Although Austin Energy provides an in-kind contribution of staff time to the project, there is no city money being contributed.


McCracken told In Fact Daily he has been working on the project on a pro bono basis since he left the Council in late June. Most of that work has involved preparing an application for federal stimulus funding of $10.4 million. “It’s to do things like fund four UT research teams and then also to buy solar and energy storage equipment,” he said.


McCracken and other Pecan Street backers had expected him to become Executive Director of the project once he left the Council. However, the city’s ethics advisor said former Council Members were prevented from taking any job that included lobbying Council or appearing on behalf of any organization for one year after they left office.


Pecan Street Project has yet to hire an Executive Director but the board moved forward with posting the position on Wednesday, according to Roger Duncan, who serves as the board’s president.

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