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Here’s what the new city manager’s salary and benefits could look like

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 by Audrey McGlinchy, KUT

When incoming City Manager Spencer Cronk moves to Austin next month, he’ll have some help.

City Council members are scheduled to vote next week on a compensation package for Cronk, who comes to Austin from Minneapolis and starts on Feb. 12.

When Council members announced their pick for the city’s highest executive position, Mayor Steve Adler said that Cronk’s salary would be “in the ballpark” of the previous city manager’s salary. At the time he left, former City Manager Marc Ott earned a base salary of roughly $309,000.

Cronk will be offered reimbursements for a house-hunting trip, some money to cover temporary housing expenses and some other relocation-related costs. He’ll also be offered more run-of-the-mill benefits like health care coverage, as well as allowances for weekly expenses and a cell phone plan.

For now, the exact amounts of some of these benefits are currently up in the air until Council finalizes its offer in the form of a resolution next week.

When Ott was hired in 2008, his offer was similar, if not a bit more generous. He was offered a salary of $242,000, which grew by more than $100,000 in the eight years he worked for the city.

He was also offered up to $4,500 per month (equivalent to about $5,116 per month today) for up to nine months of temporary housing costs and reimbursement for the cost of two house-hunting trips to Austin (up to seven days per trip).

According to city documents, Cronk will be offered a yet-to-be-determined monthly amount for up to six months of temporary housing, which is less than Ott’s nine months. His house-hunting reimbursement spans only seven days total.

“House-hunting and temporary housing is typical for executives that are moving from out of state,” wrote the city’s Human Resources Department via a city spokesperson.

Overall, Cronk’s offer isn’t dissimilar from compensation packages offered to candidates by other major U.S. cities. According to the Dallas Observer, when the city of Dallas hired City Manager T.C. Broadnax in 2016, he was offered reimbursement for up to three house-hunting trips, six months of temporary housing up to $3,000 per month and up to $35,000 to cover relocation fees.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo courtesy of the city of Austin.

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