Following his July restructuring of his executive team, Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk announced on Monday the finalists for two of his five new lieutenant positions. For both slots – the assistant city manager over Economic Opportunity and Affordability and the ACM over Health and Environment/Culture and Lifelong Learning – Cronk has, as he suggested he might, included the current occupants of those roles on his shortlist, but interim ACMs Joe Pantalion and Sara Hensley have some stiff competition. This all follows from Cronk's move to align the formerly ad hoc division of labor within the executive team with the outcomes in the city's adopted Strategic Direction 2023 ("Cronk to Reorganize Management Team," Aug. 3). While making the new five-year plan and the real City Hall org chart line up on paper was a common-sense goal, advocated by Council, Cronk's making the incumbents reapply for their jobs and compete against outside applicants was unexpected.
Pantalion, who has been a top manager in Watershed Protection forever, now faces his own colleague/subordinate Rodney Gonzales, head of Development Services, as well as Corpus Christi ACM Sylvia Carrillo-Trevino, Madison (Wis.) economic development exec Paul Jadin, and former Dallas planning director Theresa O'Donnell. Hensley, hired in 2008 from Phoenix to lead the Parks and Recreation Department, is up against Cincinnati parks chief Daniel Betts, Philadelphia library director Siobhan Reardon, former Long Beach port spokesperson Noelia Rodriguez, and Washington (D.C.) public works head Chris Shorter. In the next round, Cronk will select overseers for the Mobility and Safety outcomes; the first is now vacant with ACM Robert Goode's departure for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, but current public safety ACM Rey Arellano, along with anyone else, has until Dec. 26 to apply. Finally, next spring Cronk will hire a deputy city manager to replace the retiring Elaine Hart, who filled Cronk's own shoes as interim city manager for 16 months before his arrival from Minneapolis.
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