Police Oversight Chief Makes Her Leave Permanent

Farah Muscadin has officially resigned

Farah Muscadin, former director of the Office of Police Oversight (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Farah Muscadin, director of the city's Office of Police Oversight, has officially resigned, after more than five years as City Hall's point person fielding complaints against Austin police. According to a memo to Council from City Manager Spencer Cronk, Muscadin is focused on her growing family while also caring for elderly parents out of state. She's been on maternity leave since the beginning of 2022, and activists have speculated she planned to leave the position for good.

Last month, Council opted not to adopt the Austin Police Oversight Act, which would restore investigative powers to the OPO that had been eliminated after a successful grievance from the Austin Police Association; instead, the citizen-initiated ordinance will go to Austin voters in May 2023. The city says it will conduct a national search for Muscadin's replacement, but did not answer when they planned to make that hire. The timing will be important. Should the APOA be approved in May, the OPO's powers will be expanded, but the next police contract is slated to be approved in March, and it may again preclude the OPO's ability to use the full range of its intended investigative powers, such as the ability to see confidential police personnel files ("G files").

The vacancy atop OPO comes as the city's Equity Office also lacks a permanent director, after Brion Oaks left in July to join the Charles Butt Foundation, and as its Office of Civil Rights remains in limbo after its Director Carol Johnson was placed on administrative leave when an investigation found the office to be a dysfunctional and hostile work environment. Johnson and Muscadin were appointed by Cronk during his five years atop City Hall while Oaks began heading the Equity Office under former City Manager Marc Ott in September 2016. A city spokesperson told the Chronicle Monday that the city has no specific target for how long new directors should stay in their positions.

* Editor's note Thursday, Oct. 6, 9:21am: This story has been updated. It incorrectly stated that Brion Oaks was hired by City Manager Spencer Cronk; Oaks was appointed by former City Manager Marc Ott in September 2016.

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Maggie Q. Thompson
ACLU Sues Demanding Attorneys Be Present at Initial Bail Hearings
ACLU Sues Demanding Attorneys Be Present at Initial Bail Hearings
Travis County blocks defenders; ACLU says that's unconstitutional

April 11, 2024

Squirrel Fest, a Bidi Bidi Birthday, and More Community Events
Squirrel Fest, a Bidi Bidi Birthday, and More Community Events
Plan your week with some of our recommended happenings around town

April 12, 2024

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle