The two finalists for Austin’s next city manager took the stage at the convention center Tuesday night and offered two different visions of what the city’s next top employee could be: A young, consensus-building outsider on the one hand, and an experienced public servant familiar with Austin on the other.
At an open forum to meet the candidates, Spencer Cronk, the 38-year-old city administrator of Minneapolis, characterized himself as a person guided by curiosity, bridge-building, problem-solving, equity and collaboration. He’s Smokey the Bear, not Ranger Rick, he told the audience — someone with a focus on solving problems before they occur.
Howard Lazarus, the 61-year-old city administrator of Ann Arbor, Mich., and former Austin public works director, spoke about his time at West Point, noting that the military taught him about service and working in a large organization. Raising daughters, he joked, taught him about negotiating with unreasonable people.