A Two-Horse Race

Council selects finalists for city manager – public meeting Tuesday

As anticipated, Thursday’s City Council meeting unveiled the two surviving candidates for Austin’s next city manager: Spencer Cronk, current Minneapolis city coordinator, and Howard Lazarus, current Ann Arbor city administrator (and former director of the Austin Public Works Department).

Both men will be here next week to meet with staff, officials, and the public – the latter in two one-hour meetings Tuesday evening at the Convention Center, 7-9pm.

Spencer Cronk

The current positions held by the two candidates appear to be the equivalent of Austin’s city manager (executive director of all city departments and employees). Cronk has held his position since 2014. He served previously as com­mis­sioner of the Minnesota Department of Admin­i­stration (overseeing real property and infrastructure), and before that, in the Michael Bloomberg administration in New York City. He has degrees from the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison and Harvard.

Lazarus moved to the Ann Arbor job in 2016, after eight years as Austin’s Director of Public Works (he also served an interim stint as assistant city manager). He told Ann Arbor officials that while he is happy in Michigan, he considers the Austin position a “unique opportunity.” He’s a West Point and Johns Hopkins grad with degrees in civil engineering and chemistry, and prior to arriving in Austin in 2008, he worked as an engineer in both the public and private sector.

Howard Lazarus

Additional biographical information is posted on the Council message board, under “City Manager Search.”

The public meetings will take place Tuesday night, December 12, at the Convention Center, although the specific room venue has not yet been announced. City Council members will be re-interviewing the two candidates Wednesday, and will also hold a special-called meeting Wednesday afternoon at 3pm (to address the proposed Austin Police Association contract) in addition to Counci's final regular 2017 meeting Thursday at 10am.

Council plans to gather input from next week’s various stakeholders and make its final selection of a new city manager by Dec. 19.

For more on City Council, follow the Daily News and the weekly print edition.

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City Council 2017, City Manager Search, Spencer Cronk, Howard Lazarus

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