AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin city manager Spencer Cronk released a statement Saturday in response to media requests for him to comment on reports that say the city council intends to ask him to resign or be fired.
KXAN learned of this move from two members of city council, under the condition of anonymity, who say that the council’s decision in the matter was unanimous.
In the statement, Cronk says that he wasn’t made aware of two agenda addendums for city council’s February 15 special called meeting, until after they were posted.
One of those addendums is sponsored by Austin Mayor Kirk Watson, Mayor Pro Tem Paige Ellis, councilmember Alison Alter and councilmember José ‘Chito’ Vela, and it would “authorize payment of severance benefits to city manager Spencer Cronk.” It also allows the council to begin the process of finding an interim city manager.
The other addendum is a consultation between city council and legal counsel about “legal and personnel issues related to the employment, compensation and benefits for the city
manager and potential appointment of an interim city manager.”
“This meeting was originally posted as a postponed discussion regarding a proposed new one-year meet and confer agreement with the Austin Police Association,” Cronk’s statement reads. “However, since the posting of these Saturday night addendum items relate to my employment and severance benefits, I will simply reiterate that I remain Austin’s City Manager and no actions have been taken by this new Mayor and Council to change my responsibilities or role.”
Cronk says that he remains focused on serving and leading the people of Austin. He also claims that the agreement reached on Friday between the city and the Austin Police Association is “centered on my professional management experience of how best to keep our community safe.”
“That remains the sole driving factor for pursuing a four-year contract,” Cronk said in the statement. “My obligation, one of many as the City Manager, is to ensure the safety of all of our residents. Moving forward on a four-year contract provides greater assurance that the safety of our residents remains intact.”
Vela, during Thursday’s city council meeting, said that the four-year agreement was a surprise to the council. Speaking during that meeting, he said that he feels “it’s time for a new city manager.”
“We’ve asked him to make sure that we are okay with a four year contract before presenting it to the public as a done deal the way that I saw at the press conference and the way that I saw in the press release,” Vela told KXAN.
Cronk says that he and Austin Police Department Chief Joseph Chacon “have serious concerns” for APD staffing and Austin’s finances if the city pursues a one-year contract with the police association.