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Council members get their assignments

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

On Monday, Mayor Steve Adler released a document naming the proposed City Council committee and intergovernmental body appointments, populating the 10 Council committees for the first time.

The appointments are on the agenda for the upcoming Council meeting, and they will most likely be made official at that time. According to the document, Adler will be the only Council member who will not chair a committee. He will also only be a member of one committee — the Austin Energy committee. All other Council members will serve on four committees.

In addition, there are suggested appointments for the many intergovernmental committees that the City of Austin is a part of. For the most part, Council members will serve on three of these committees. Though a few positions remained open, a draft copy of appointments had Adler on five and Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo on four intergovernmental committees, and Council Members Sheri Gallo and Greg Casar on two. Everyone else is currently slated to be appointed to three groups.

Council Member Delia Garza is the only appointee of the Capital Metro Transportation Authority Board. Ed Easton, manager of board relations at Capital Metro, said Garza would replace former Council Member Chris Riley, a city appointee to the board. However, the city must can also have an appointee who is not an elected representative. That person is Ann Stafford, whose term does not expire until June 2016.

Former Council Member Mike Martinez, who serves as chair of the board, will lose his position when the Capitol Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Policy Board (CAMPO) appoints another elected official to take his spot, Easton said. Martinez is still serving because of a rule that allows him to serve until his replacement is appointed, according to Easton. Assuming the Council confirms Garza’s appointment on Thursday, she will start serving Feb. 23.

Garza will also serve on CAMPO, with Adler and fellow Council Members Ann Kitchen and Gallo.

Council Member Leslie Pool will serve on the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Committee Planning Organizing Coordinating Committee. The position was formerly held by Mayor Lee Leffingwell. The only other member is Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty.

Adler will serve on the Austin Firefighters Relief and Retirement Fund, despite the fact that there are other Council members with strong ties to the community.

Council Member Don Zimmerman was appointed to three intergovernmental committees, all of which have an environmental bent. He will be Austin’s representative on the Capital Area Council of Governments Clean Air Coalition subcommittee, the Clean Air Force of Central Texas Board of Directors, and the Texas Colorado River Floodplain Coalition. The Texas Colorado River Floodplain Coalition is composed of cities and counties in the river basin that are working toward mitigating and reducing flood damage.

The new Regional Affordability Committee, which Council formed at its last meeting, will have city representation through the membership of Garza, who sponsored the resolution to form the committee, and Council Members Ellen Troxclair and Kitchen.

There were also plenty of Council committee appointments. The new City Council structure left 47 positions open on committees.

The Austin Energy committee will remain a committee of the whole, with Gallo serving as chair.

Casar will serve as chair of the new Planning and Neighborhoods Committee, which will concentrate on development, neighborhood plans, zoning, preservation and noise, among other things. He will be joined by Council Members Pio Renteria, Gallo and Tovo.

Tovo will chair the Audit and Finance Committee, which is one of the few Council committees whose mission remains intact from the last Council. Troxclair, Pool and Renteria will also serve on the committee.

Another holdover — the Health and Human Services Committee — will have Council Member Ora Houston as chair and Garza, Tovo and Troxclair as members.

Zimmerman will chair the new Public Safety Committee that will comprise him, Casar, Houston and Pool. The committee will focus on areas such as fire, police, emergency medical services, disaster preparedness and code enforcement.

Garza will chair the Public Utilities Committee, with Kitchen, Zimmerman and Troxclair as members. The Public Utilities Committee will oversee the city utilities other than Austin Energy.

Kitchen will chair the Mobility Committee, which will focus on all modes of transportation, with Gallo, Garza and Zimmerman also serving on the new board.

The Open Space, Environment and Sustainability Committee will have issues such as heritage trees, parks and climate protection in its purview. Pool will serve as chair, and Garza, Tovo and Zimmerman will all be members.

Renteria will chair the Housing and Community Development Committee, serving along with Kitchen, Casar and Gallo.

And Troxclair will be the chair of the Economic Opportunity, Technology, Innovation and Creative Industries Committee. Houston, Casar and Pool will all be members.

This story has been corrected.

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