About the Author
Chad Swiatecki is a 20-year journalist who relocated to Austin from his home state of Michigan in 2008. He most enjoys covering the intersection of arts, business and local/state politics. He has written for Rolling Stone, Spin, New York Daily News, Texas Monthly, Austin American-Statesman and many other regional and national outlets.
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Cronk announces final assistant managers, filling safety and mobility posts
A current assistant city manager and a newcomer to City Hall have been selected as the newest assistant city managers as part of a realignment of top city staff under City Manager Spencer Cronk.
On Tuesday, the city announced the selection of Rey Arellano as the city manager in charge of projects and departments related to safety, which were among his responsibilities in his six years serving as an assistant city manager in Austin. His current salary of $243,921.20 will remain the same in his new role.
The new hire overseeing mobility issues is Gina Fiandaca, who comes to Austin from Boston, where she served as commissioner of the city’s transportation department since 2015. She will start her new position May 6 and earn $235,019.20.
The two hires are the final additions to Cronk’s revised management team. The city’s Strategic Direction 2023 plan designates mobility, safety, health and environment, economic opportunity and affordability, culture and lifelong learning, and government that works for all as the top priorities for City Council and staff.
The only unfilled position in Cronk’s team is deputy city manager, currently being filled by Elaine Hart, who is also the city’s chief financial officer.
“Gina and Rey are going to be instrumental in helping us meet our goals in the areas of safety and mobility, which have been identified as key strategic priorities for the city,” Cronk said in a statement following the hirings. “They will be leading multi-talented teams working to tackle some of the top challenges facing Austin.”
Fiandaca was selected from a field of six candidates – including four current city staff members – for the mobility position, while Arellano was among four candidates for the safety role with one other city staffer up for consideration.
Arellano completed a 22-year career as a U.S. Navy officer serving on various submarines and other staff assignments before entering public service with previous roles in Tacoma, Washington, and San Diego.
He was appointed assistant city manager in September 2013 and oversees the public safety service group that includes police, fire, Austin-Travis County EMS, the office of the medical director, Austin Code, Homeland Security & Emergency Management, Watershed Protection and the Downtown Austin Community Court. He also serves as chair of the city’s IT steering committee that oversees the strategic use of technology, and is chair of the city’s Open and Smart Advisory Committee that focuses on increasing accessibility to the city’s data sets.
In Boston, Fiandaca managed a staff of more than 425 who are responsible for the city’s 850 miles of roadway.
Under her management, in January 2017, a one-year parking pilot program was implemented to increase parking turnover to allow more access to on-street spaces and alleviate congestion and pollution. That year also saw the first official trip by an autonomous vehicle on a public street in the city, creating a framework for safe testing for autonomous vehicles throughout Boston.
Fiandaca holds a bachelor’s degree from Suffolk University and an MBA from Boston University. She is a lifelong resident of East Boston and an avid runner who has completed 42 marathons, including nine ultra-marathons.
Photo by John Flynn.
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