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Photo by John Flynn

New job for Briseño as city announces promotions

Thursday, January 20, 2022 by Jo Clifton

City Manager Spencer Cronk has announced the appointment of Veronica Briseño as assistant city manager for the “Government That Works for All” strategic area, starting this week.

Briseño has worked for the city for more than 20 years, including an early stint as an aide to Council Member Raul Alvarez. She began her employment with the city as an intern in 1999, working part time for Toby Futrell, who was an assistant to City Manager Jesús Garza, and part time for Alice Glasco, who was director of the city’s zoning department. After that, she worked as City Council agenda manager for Garza, and moved next to Alvarez’s office.

Assistant City Manager Veronica Briseño

Briseño said in a news release that serving on the city manager’s executive team has been a long-held goal of hers. She noted that she had the same calling as her father, Alex Briseño, who served as city manager for San Antonio for 11 years before retiring in 2001.

In her new post, Briseño’s portfolio of departments will include Building Services, Civil Rights, Communications and Public Information, Communications and Technology Management, Financial Services, Human Resources, Intergovernmental Relations, and Labor Relations. Those departments have 1,072 full-time equivalent employees and a total budget of a $258.3 million.

Briseño has worked as director of the Small and Minority Business Resources Department, as well as CEO of the Austin Economic Development Corporation, director of the Economic Development Department, and as the interim homeless strategy officer.

The city began looking for a new assistant city manager last June, after Deputy City Manager Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde was chosen as city manager of Boulder, Colorado. City Attorney Anne Morgan has been serving in the deputy role and will now return to her regular duties. With Briseño’s appointment, Sylnovia Holt-Rabb will serve as the interim EDD director (Holt-Rabb had been serving as acting director).

Cronk also announced he had chosen Jason Alexander as his chief of staff. In addition to his administrative duties, Alexander will oversee the Equity Office, as well as offices focusing on innovation, sustainability and resiliency. Alexander’s career with the city includes work with the Parks and Recreation Department, Human Resources, Emergency Medical Services and the Fire Department.

Cronk appointed Jessica King as the city’s chief communications director, a post she has held on an interim basis since February 2019. She has been instrumental in coordinating multi-department initiatives as well as overseeing systems used to communicate information about major emergencies, including the pandemic. She has worked for the city for the past 16 years.

Assistant City Manager Stephanie Hayden-Howard announced that Adrienne Sturrup, who has served as interim director of Austin Public Health, would be taking the job on a permanent basis beginning today. Sturrup has worked for the city of Austin since 2014 and has served as interim director of Austin Public Health since last May. She has become a familiar figure to Austinites as she leads the city’s fight against Covid-19.

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