The Austin Chronicle

Naked City

The LCRA Pipeline

By Amy Smith, January 11, 2002, News

Top-level city officials rarely disappear after retirement; they merely travel the well-worn path to 3700 Lake Austin Blvd., home of the Lower Colorado River Authority. City Manager Jesus Garza, who announced his resignation Tuesday, is only the latest of several before him who have jumped ship for an LCRA executive nameplate. Of course, this doesn't include the countless state and other non-city executives who also have signed on to the LCRA payroll.

Perhaps the first and most notable trailblazer was Mark Rose, the former executive director of the LCRA. In 1987, the former City Council member gave up his campaign for mayor of Austin and joined the quasi-public power and water outfit, ultimately taking it to new heights.

Charles Urdy was next in line. After 12 years on the City Council, Urdy joined the authority in 1994 to oversee technical and marketing operations.

A few years later, the LCRA came courting again and picked up two city electric-utility honchos, almost back-to-back. John Moore, director of the city's Electric Utility Dept. for 13 years, took a position with the LCRA in 1997. Milton Lee succeeded Moore at the city, but followed his old boss to the LCRA 14 months later. Only Lee can lay claim to revolving through the doors of City Hall and the LCRA more than once, however. He worked for the city from 1984-87, joined the LCRA for two years, then came back to the city in 1990, only to return to the LCRA in 1998.

In February 2000, Randy Goss left his job as head of the city's Water and Wastewater Utility Dept. to guide the LCRA's excursion into water and wastewater operations.

Paul Hilgers may well be the exception. He's one of few higher-ups who actually left the LCRA to join the city, where he directs the office of Neighborhood Housing & Community Development.

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