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Judge names Todd to complete Precinct 2 term on Commissioners Court

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 by Elizabeth Pagano

Saying he will do an outstanding job, Judge Sam Biscoe has appointed former Austin Mayor Bruce Todd to the Travis County Commissioners Court.


Todd will fill the Precinct 2 position formerly held by Sarah Eckhardt, who stepped down to run for county judge last week. Todd will serve the year and seven months that remain in her term.


It’s a familiar role for Todd, who was elected twice as Precinct 2 Commissioner, serving from 1987 to 1991. Following that, Todd served as Mayor of Austin from 1991 until 1997. Currently, he is employed as a lobbyist.


“I have served as County Commissioner of Precinct 2 before, and as Mayor, and I think the ability of governments to work together is critically important, both from a cost standpoint and an efficiency standpoint, and I hope to bring some of the experience I’ve had in those two jobs back to the county,” said Todd.


“Obviously, all transportation issues are ones that we’ll look at. A congested city is a dysfunctional city, and we’re on the verge of being that way. If anything is holding us back from an economic development standpoint, it is our transportation system,” Todd told In Fact Daily. “It is out of date, and those are the kind of issues I will look at.”


For the time being, Todd held off from commenting on SH-45 specifically, saying, it would take him a little bit of time to get to the bottom of the issue.


“I was here when MoPac was built, and I remember there being controversy about that. But I don’t think anybody would tell you today that it’s not a good road,” said Todd. “Now it’s an overcrowded roadway, and we need to fix that, but those are the kind of issues you need the facts and figures for before you make decisions. I’ll ask for those.”


Biscoe made his announcement on Monday afternoon, praising the 17 applicants that met the job qualifications, but noting that Todd had the most “reasonable” salary request – agreeing to a $1 annual salary plus benefits. It’s a move that will save the county about $95,000 annually.


Biscoe explained that while Todd would continue to represent the Linebarger law firm, he would not be doing so in Travis County or Central Texas, for that matter. Todd later explained that his lobbying work was principally in other areas of the country, and he would recuse himself if it was necessary.


“I served on the Commissioners Court with Bruce for more than two years,” said Biscoe. “I had a great working relationship with him, and always found him to be disciplined, dedicated, hardworking, reasonable and intelligent.”   


Biscoe touted Todd’s work at Travis County and the city , including recruitment of high tech firms, establishing the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan, and work with social services. Biscoe highlighted the key role Todd played as mayor in the relocation of Mueller Airport, partnership with Seton Hospital and balancing a city budget during lean economic times.


Though it was unclear exactly when Todd would be sworn in, he confirmed that he would start work today at this week’s Commissioners Court meeting.


“This is not about salary, or title, or career moves. It’s about public service,” said Todd, who said he saw transportation and education as important issues that he would be focusing on in the future.

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