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Tuesday, November 21, 2017 by Audrey McGlinchy

Council reveals six finalists for city manager position

After getting heat for keeping candidates’ identities secret and evading reporters, City Council has released the names of six finalists for the city manager position.

Mayor Steve Adler published the names and biographies to the Council Online Message Board Monday afternoon.

The city has spent more than a year searching for a city manager, Austin’s highest unelected position. Marc Ott, who last held the role, left Austin in October 2016.

In two weeks, each candidate will meet with Council members and the City Manager Search Advisory Task Force. The shortlist, generated with the help of Russell Reynolds Associates, an external search firm, will then be narrowed from six to three after Council meets Dec. 7. Final interviews will take place mid-December and include members of the public.

These are the current candidates for the job:

Spencer Cronk is the Minneapolis city coordinator. He helps define city priorities and policy for the mayor and city council and then works with staff to implement those priorities. Previously, Cronk was commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Administration where he led multiple divisions including purchasing, demographic analysis and risk management.

Cecil House is a senior operations executive and leads the public sector construction practice for the New York office of Gilbane Building Co. Before joining Gilbane, House was the general manager and chief operating officer for the New York City Housing Authority, where he was responsible for managing 179,000 units and 95,000 housing vouchers.

Scott Kubly is the director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. He oversees transportation policy, capital project delivery, maintenance operations, and transit and mobility improvements. He also helped get voter-approved money for, among other things, investing in reliable, affordable travel options for the growing city.

Howard Lazarus is the city administrator for Ann Arbor, Michigan. Prior to that, he was the director of Public Works for eight years in Austin, where he managed a 720-person department that was responsible for managing a $91 million budget, maintaining roads and bridges, and planning bike, pedestrian and child-safety programs. Lazarus was also the interim assistant city manager of Austin in 2010.

Denise Roth is a senior adviser at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global engineering and professional services organization. Before that, Roth was an administrator for the U.S. General Services Administration, responsible for a $27 billion budget supporting public buildings, federal acquisition and technology services programs. Before that, she was the city manager for Greensboro, North Carolina.

Maura Sullivan is the chief operating officer for the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, running the day-to-day operations of the city. Prior to that, she held multiple positions in Memphis city government including deputy chief administrative officer, in which she worked to coordinate operations of all divisions of the city government.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin City Council: The Austin City Council is the body with legislative purview over the City of Austin. It offers policy direction, while the office of the City Manager implements administrative actions based on those policies. Until 2012, the body contained seven members, including the city's Mayor, all elected at-large. In 2012, City of Austin residents voted to change that system and now 10 members of the Council are elected based on geographic districts. The Mayor continues to be elected at-large.

city manager: The city manager oversees the administrative segment of the City of Austin and is one of four Council direct reports.

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