Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk Announces Two For Executive Team
Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk named his first two executive team hires Friday, passing over two interim assistant city managers in favor of one alternate in-house hire and one newcomer.
Rodney Gonzales, the director of Austin’s Development Services Department, will become the assistant city manager overseeing economic opportunity and affordability. Christopher Shorter, the director of Washington, D.C., Public Works, will be assistant city manager over health, environment, culture and lifelong learning.
Sara Hensley and Joe Pantalion, who have been filling those roles on an interim basis, were both finalists for the positions. They will now return to their previous roles as directors of the Parks and Recreation and Watershed Protection departments, respectively.
Cronk made waves at City Hall over the summer when he announced he would replace all five of his assistant city manager positions with new roles, forcing the city’s top staffers to reapply for their jobs alongside external candidates. Two of the assistant city managers, Mark Washington and Robert Goode, departed for other jobs after the announcement.
Cronk launched a nationwide search for candidates that is ongoing. Two more assistant city managers are expected to be hired in early 2019, and a deputy city manager will come onboard after that.
Gonzales and Shorter were culled from a field of 162 candidates from 32 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Gonzales will earn $238,014 annually and Shorter will be paid $235,019.
Gonzales has worked for Austin for 12 years, after overseeing finance for the cities of San Marcos and Luling. He has bachelor and master’s degrees from Texas State University.
Shorter has worked in Washington, D.C., government for 10 years, in public works, health and youth rehabilitation roles. He has bachelor and master’s degrees from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University and the University of Pittsburgh, respectively.
In a news release Friday, Cronk said the two new members of his executive team were ready to “hit the ground running.”
“Rodney and Chris stood out amongst the other candidates as people who understand the challenges facing Austin,” Cronk said. “It was clear to me that they’re well-prepared to work with our community and our employees to advance strategies that can address those challenges in a way that aligns with our priorities.”