Austin is the state capital of Texas and is the fastest growing metro city of its size. With a population of more than 947,000, Austin is the fourth largest city in Texas and the eleventh largest city in the United States. Home to a substantial regional concentration of headquarters/regional offices for Fortune 500 (Amazon.com, Dell, Google, and Whole Foods to name a few), the University of Texas at Austin, a vibrant music scene, eclectic mix of award-winning restaurants, and over 250 parks, Austin is consistently ranked as the number one “Most Popular Place to Live.”
Since 2011, Austin has received more than 50 local and national rankings in categories such as economic growth, environmental leadership, education, quality of life, and real estate. Most recently, Austin was named by Forbes as a Top 10 Employer for 2017 and the highest-ranking employer in the government services sector.
As a result of its tremendous success, Austin has experienced challenges that the next City Manager will need to address. In particular, the rapid growth of the city has burdened housing, transportation, infrastructure, affordability, and equity, in ways that a new innovative approach will seek to solve.
For more information about the 2017 State of Austin City, please visit http://www.mayoradler.com/2017-state-of-the-city-address-the-spirit-of-austin/
The City of Austin has a Council-Manager form of government whereby the elected City Council sets policy objectives and the City Manager ensures they are carried out and administered effectively. The City Manager also serves as a trusted advisor to the Mayor and City Council.
Under the November 6, 2012, voter-approved charter amendment, Council Members are no longer elected citywide. During the 2014 election, the Mayor was elected citywide, and the other 10 Council Members were elected by residents from geographic districts.
City Manager Search Process
The selection of Austin’s next City Manager will be the most important decision the Mayor and the City Council make in the coming months.
The success of the 10-1 council system depends on a productive and trusting partnership with the City Manager and creates the most basic building block of successful policymaking and implementation.
In recognition of the importance of conducting a transparent selection process, Council created the City Manager Search Advisory Task Force, which was composed of an appointee from the mayor and each council member. The panel developed and conducted a community engagement process to shape the candidate profile. Members of the public were invited to help identify the types of skills, abilities, experience, and personal characteristics that are essential for Austin’s next City manager.
City Council and the Task Force solicited the public’s input through four types of opportunities:
Based on feedback provided by Austin Residents, outlined below are the responsibilities, relevant experience, and key competencies the next City Manager must demonstrate to ensure that successful candidates are aligned with Austin’s goals for its future as a vibrant, liveable city
The Mayor and City Council seek to recruit a new City Manager for the City of Austin. This individual must have the skills and experience to lead Austin by combining vision, efficient strategy, and operational excellence together in an open, communicative style.
Reporting to the Mayor and City Council, they will serve the citizens of Austin by providing executive leadership and representation on all matters concerning their city government. This individual will represent and stand accountable for the leadership and management of the daily operations of the Austin government and will serve as a trusted advisor to the Mayor and City Council.
The City Manager will need to create an organizational culture that supports the appropriately free flow of information and advice between City Staff of all ranks and elected officials. They should appreciate the value of and utilize the community and practical expertise brought to the table by the Mayor and Council. In addition, this individual should provide avenues for the Mayor and Council to leverage the management and municipal expertise the City Manager and City Staff bring to policy questions. In order to be successful, the new City Manager should invest in an open, trusting, and collaborative relationship between the City Manager, City Staff and the Mayor and City Council.
The City Manager will be responsible for a $3.7B budget (FY 2017), more than 40 departments and offices (including the Police Department (Budget: $402 million; Employees: 2,640), Fire Department (Budget: $185 million; Employees: 1,316), and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (Budget: $155 million; Employees: 456), and 13,500 employees. Direct reports include five assistant City Managers, Chief of Staff, and Chief Financial Officer. Additionally, the heads of the following entities report directly to the City Manager: Austin Energy (Budget: $1.34 billion; Employees: 1,718), Law Department (Budget: $12.8 million; Employees: 97), Equity Office (NA), and the Office of Police Monitor (NA).
Please visit http://www.austintexas.gov/service/city-organizational-and-department-chart to review the City’s organization chart.
The City Manager is also in charge of preparing an annual budget for City Council’s consideration.
Please visit https://austintexas.gov/financeonline/finance/financial_docs.cfm?ws=1&pg=1 to learn more about the annual budget process.
Interested applicants may send an email with a current resume and cover letter to Russell Reynolds Associates at email@example.com
The successful candidate may have relevant experience from a variety of entities such as:
Ideally, the next City Manager will have substantive experience in more than one sector. In all cases, however, this individual must demonstrate a record of creating and executing best-in-class solutions to challenging issues such as those highlighted above. All candidates must have at least 12 years of relevant management experience, including 5 years of senior executive level management experience. We are interested in individuals who seek out and support the utilization of data analytics to aid critical decisions while at the same time can demonstrate deep empathy for other issues at hand.
While the size and scope of previous experience (department size, reporting structure, budget, etc.) will not be the ultimate deciding factor, relevant experience must relate appropriately to the size and complexity of Austin. Additional relevant experience should include past interactions with Federal and State organizations. Previous public experience is essential but not required for the role, however all Candidates must demonstrate a sense of passion for public service and empathy for those in need. Candidates must have experience managing a population/work force similar to Austin’s demographics. Given the governance structure of Austin, we are also seeking candidates with experience working/partnering with a Governing Board (public and/or private sector). Fluency in Spanish is preferred. A sense of humour is a plus.
The next City Manager must be a leader who embodies the spirit of public service, embraces inclusiveness, and displays deep compassion for those in need. The successful candidate will understand the importance of making Austin a livable city for current and future residents by focusing on the issues previously outlined and new ones as they arise. This individual must foster a culture of innovation and open communication while convening, leading, and collaborating with council, neighborhood communities, local organizations, labor associations, businesses, and residents from across the city to achieve excellence. They must have demonstrated examples of leading and supporting transformative initiatives in a highly complex environment. Above all, the next City Manager must be able to build a culture of trust.
In terms of the performance and competencies required for the position, we would highlight the following:
Strategic and Visionary Leadership
Executing for Results
Relationships and Influence
Stewardship of Community Values
For more information about the City of Austin, please visit http://www.austintexas.gov
To learn more about Employee Benefits, please visit http://www.austintexas.gov/department/active-employee-benefits