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Stories by Jo Clifton

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Cronk, Lazarus vie for city manager job

Each of the two finalists for the job of Austin city manager, Howard Lazarus and Spencer Cronk, did his best to convince a small crowd gathered at the Austin Convention Center last night, as well as an unknown number of…

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 by Jo Clifton

City’s homeless services not coordinated

Austin lacks a single coordinator to oversee all of its activities and expenditures relating to the homeless to make sure that they are operating efficiently, according to an audit released by the Office of the City Auditor on Monday.In addition,…

Friday, December 8, 2017 by Jo Clifton

City to continue protest of Dripping Springs permit

The city will continue its protest of a proposed permit that would allow Dripping Springs to discharge up to 995,000 gallons of treated wastewater per day to the Onion Creek watershed. City staff put a proposed settlement agreement on Thursday’s…

Thursday, December 7, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Threadgill’s fighting for airport contract

A battle is brewing over airport restaurant concession contracts, and Threadgill’s is in the middle of the fight.Also in the middle of a contract fight is the local massage concession known as Knot Anymore, which has provided massage services at…

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Changes proposed for Chapter 380 agreements

During Tuesday’s City Council work session, David Colligan, the manager of global business expansion in the Economic Development Department, and economist Jon Hockenyos presented an outline of their plans to revamp the city’s incentive policy for recruiting businesses under the…

Friday, December 1, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Robbins protests gas company’s budget

Local consumer advocate Paul Robbins has filed an appeal challenging the effectiveness of the conservation program being used by Texas Gas Service. As a customer of the utility, Robbins asserts that he has a right to challenge what is called…

Thursday, November 30, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Champion tract returning to Council

Because neighborhood activists won their open meetings lawsuit against the city last month, City Council will be reconsidering an ordinance that amends an old settlement agreement related to development on the Champion tract at 6409 City Park Road at next…

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Two districts now oppose sewage permit

The board of directors of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District voted Monday night to protest Dripping Springs’ draft permit to discharge 995,000 gallons of wastewater per day into a tributary of Onion Creek. The vote means that the district…

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 by Jo Clifton

After rejection, Council OKs liquor store zoning

After the first vote to change the zoning on property at 12611 Hymeadow Drive fell short of the votes needed to allow a liquor store, Council Member Jimmy Flannigan took the unusual step of getting the item on another agenda…

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Judge finds city violated open meetings law again

Litigation about the Champion tract never really goes away. Originally filed in the early 1990s, the litigation simply morphs from one issue to another and one venue to another. It has cost the city of Austin an almost endless amount…

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Audit: City jobs programs disorganized

The city’s workforce development programs are neither well-planned nor well-coordinated, and the city does not have reliable data to evaluate the success of the programs, according to an audit released last week by the Office of the City Auditor.The audit,…

Monday, November 20, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Auditor voices concern about erosion of trust

On Friday, the Office of the City Auditor turned over the name of and allegations made by a whistleblower, as well as the identities of several witnesses, in the investigation of alleged violations of city regulations by Margo Frasier, the…

Friday, November 17, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Fath retiring from Electric Utility Commission

After 40 years of fighting for consumers and small businesses on Austin’s Electric Utility Commission, Shudde Fath this week announced her resignation.Fath, who is often referred to as the grande dame of Austin’s environmental movement, is 101 years old and…

Friday, November 17, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Audit: City lacks system to track fee waivers

Some city departments are doing a good job of tracking fees they waive, while others fail to track those fees or do so inconsistently, according to a report that Office of the City Auditor staff presented at the City Council…

Thursday, November 16, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Commission subpoenas whistleblower notes

The city’s Ethics Review Commission has sent a subpoena to Nathan Wiebe, chief of investigations at the Office of the City Auditor, demanding previously protected information, including the name of and allegations made by a whistleblower against Margo Frasier, Austin’s…

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 by Jo Clifton

City regulations may create more homelessness

City ordinances prohibiting panhandling in certain areas, criminalizing camping in public places, living in a car or tent, or sitting or lying on the sidewalk in parts of downtown are creating barriers that make it more difficult for people to…

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs annexing commercial area only

Last year, at the urging of District 5 Council Member Ann Kitchen, City Council rejected annexation of a 34-acre tract of land in Southwest Travis County that is almost totally surrounded by the city of Austin.On Thursday, Kitchen again argued…

Friday, November 10, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Public to meet manager candidates after all

After months of insisting on keeping the names of all city manager candidates secret, Steve Newton of Russell Reynolds Associates announced during Thursday’s City Council meeting that the names of the finalists would become public on either Friday or Monday.In…

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Casar reports on SB 4 hearing in New Orleans

City Council Member Greg Casar attended Tuesday’s hearing on Senate Bill 4 at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The city of Austin, along with Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, the small border city of El Cenizo,…

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 by Jo Clifton

City, EMS labor negotiations likely to continue

Even though its negotiating team declared an impasse with the Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Employee Association last week, City Council appears prepared to direct staff to resume negotiations, but not immediately.Council members Ann Kitchen, Delia Garza, Leslie Pool and…

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