The Austin City Council will start interviewing finalists for city manager on Monday in a specially called meeting announced Thursday.
Council Member Greg Casar confirmed that at least one finalist will be interviewed Monday in a closed door meeting posted to take place at City Hall at 8:45 a.m.
The council had previously conducted interviews at the Hilton Austin Airport hotel and later behind security checkpoints in the airport’s main terminal after American-Statesman reporters unmasked candidates’ identities, which the council and search consultants have gone to great lengths to keep secret.
The council had been set on releasing the names of between two to five finalists before switching course late Sunday after Mayor Steve Adler and Council Member Kathie Tovo announced that one candidate had bowed out. At that point the consultant recommended revisiting the pool of applicants to ensure a diverse group of finalists.
The Statesman is suing the city for the names of finalists for the most powerful job at City Hall. The newspaper has also lodged a complaint of a possible violation of the Open Meetings Act in reference to the council’s last minute move of the location of Nov. 2 interviews to avoid Statesman reporters.
Despite the council’s efforts, the Statesman has identified five of the eight or nine candidates who have been interviewed. They are Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso, Minneapolis City Administrator Spencer Cronk, Ann Arbor City Administrator Howard Lazarus, Chattanooga Chief Operating Officer Maura Black Sullivan and former Tulsa City Manager Jim Twombly.
City Hall has been without a permanent city manager for more than a year since Marc Ott announced his departure for a job in Washington in August 2016. In the meantime, interim City Manager Elaine Hart has overseen day-to-day operations of the city, which has 14,000 employees and a $3.9 billion budget. Hart is earning $306,233 in the interim role.