The Designated Acting (Almost) City Manager

Word is that the City Council will be appointing an "acting city manager designate" while Garza finishes his term.

In a curiously newsless Monday news conference, Mayor Gus Garcia and City Manager Jesus Garza did not name Garza's interim replacement. That decision, Garcia noted repeatedly, belongs to the entire City Council, scheduled to make their choice today (Thursday). In fact, the name of the almost-certain candidate -- Deputy City Manager Toby Futrell, who did not attend -- was studiously unmentioned throughout the conference.

The news, we guess, is that the City Council will name an "acting city manager designate" to begin preparing for April 30, when Garza cleans out his desk. Futrell-or-whoever will not have any additional duties other than what Garza delegates, nor will the lucky nominee receive any additional pay, until May 1 (three days before the next council election). This puts the kibosh on talk of Garza giving up his title, if not his paycheck, before the end of April, when he'll officially have 20 years of city service.

The head that will wear the crown still needs a name, Garcia says, because the city soon will begin planning for next year's budget. "It's going to be a tight budget year, and we need to have someone who will be filling the role of city manager on board now." That suggests that Futrell will be having her ear bent and arm twisted even more than she currently does, regardless of her title.

And what will Garza be doing while he draws three more months of salary? Garcia says the departing city manager needs to focus on select key issues, including transportation planning, the nascent Regional Vision Project, and resolving the "hospital within a hospital" issue at Brackenridge Hospital.

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