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Austin council gives City Manager Marc Ott a $22,000 raise

As it handed out annual raises for key staffers, the Austin City Council gave City Manager Marc Ott a nearly $22,000 bump in pay.

The 7.6 percent raise brings Ott’s base salary to $309,441, plus at least $52,003 in other benefits. The council majority said this raise puts Ott’s salary on par with the earnings of city managers elsewhere.

The council began its evaluation of Ott in March, but the discussion around setting goals and job performance measures has continued to drag out.

Ott notified the council Monday that he is a finalist to run a prestigious association and lobby group, the International City/County Management Association, for government officials in Washington, D.C.

The pay hike passed Thursday night with 7-1-3 vote. Council Member Don Zimmerman voted no. Council Members Delia Garza, Ellen Troxclair and Sheri Gallo abstained.

The council also approved pay raises for the city clerk, municipal court clerk and the city auditor.

In other news, the council:

Set penalties for ride-hailing companies. Those that fail to meet the benchmarks for running fingerprint-based background checks on their drivers will have to pay the city an additional 1 percent of their annual revenue, on top of the 1 percent fee the city already charges transportation network companies. Zimmerman and Troxclair opposed the measure.

The benchmarks call for 50 percent of ride-hailing drivers to be fingerprinted by Aug. 1, 85 percent by Dec. 1 and 99 percent by Feb. 1. Under an amendment offered by Council Member Kathie Tovo, companies that fail to meet the benchmarks for three consecutive months after Feb. 1 will have their operating authority revoked.

Approved new rules for charter schools. The measure, identical to the one tentatively passed last week, imposes many of the same requirements on the construction of new charter schools that public schools face, resolving a decades-old quirk in city law. Among other things, the rules require newly built schools in suburban areas leave at least half of their lot unpaved; in urban areas, that figure is 35 percent.

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