Austin city manager interviews to begin in secret (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
More than a year and two months after former Austin City Manager Marc Ott announced he was departing for a Washington job, the City Council is ready to start interviewing candidates to replace him.
But don’t expect any chance for public input on the city’s most powerful public role. The council voted unanimously in March to conduct interviews in secret and release only one name at the end: the chosen finalist.
That means next week, as the council meets behind closed doors Tuesday and Thursday, it’ll be trying to sneak in the six to nine candidates who will be in town for interviews.
Austin’s new Central Library opens Saturday. Will people use it? (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
Taylor Barnett, 24, hasn’t had a public library card since the 1990s, when she was a kid growing up in Victoria, Texas. She would frequent the local library with her grandparents, especially after they bought a computer with little idea of how to use it.
“The library had computer classes,” said Barnett. “My grandmother really taught (herself) through those classes and I would go with her to the classes and go home and be her tutor, in a way.”
Barnett recently decided to rejoin the ranks of public library cardholders in anticipation of the city’s grand opening of its new Central Library. The 198,000-square-foot building in downtown Austin has been more than a decade in the making and will replace the 1970s-era John Henry Faulk Library on Guadalupe Street.
New candidate to run for Travis County Democratic Party chair (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY
A Travis County Democratic Party precinct chair and committee member has put his name in the hat for the role of county chair, a day after the previous sole candidate abruptly ended his campaign.
Michael Lewis, chair of Precinct 428, which encompasses the Rainey Street Historical District and a slice of south downtown Austin, and member of the policy and messaging committees, told the American-Statesman on Thursday that he plans to run. Lewis said he filed paperwork Wednesday night with the Texas Ethics Commission to become a candidate. The official start date to register as a candidate with the party is Nov. 9.
A rocky road for Susan Combs’ bid to join Trump team (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY
Remember last summer, when former Texas Comptroller Susan Combs was going to Washington to join the Trump administration? She’s still waiting. Combs was nominated in July to be the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for policy, management and budget.
She had her confirmation hearing later that month before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee — only to get caught in a bitter fight between the committee chair, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke over an unrelated issue.
Federal government rolls out eight border wall prototypes (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Thursday that it has completed a major step toward construction of the Trump administration’s planned wall on the southern border with Mexico. In a statement, the federal agency said that it has completed construction of eight wall prototypes, which will undergo a series of tests over the next 30 to 60 days. The prototype construction was done in San Diego.
“Border security contributes to our overall national security and relies on a combination of border infrastructure, technology, personnel, and partnerships,” Ron Vitiello, CBP’s acting deputy commissioner said in a statement.