Austin city manager finalists to be made public, will meet with residents before council vote

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The names of the final candidates in Austin’s city manager search will be made public by Monday, Nov. 13, reflecting a shift from an earlier strategy to keep the names confidential through the entire process.

During Thursday’s Austin City Council meeting, Stephen Newton, a representative from Russell Reynolds & Associates—the headhunting firm leading the city manager search process—recommended the city bring back between two and five candidates to the final round of interviews and release their names to the public.

The city manager search process has attracted much attention over the last two weeks due to the city’s efforts to keep the candidates’ identities confidential. City Council was working off a recommendation of confidentiality made by Russell Reynolds months earlier. However, the strategy earned them a lawsuit from a local news outlet and many questions from the public.

The original recommendation from Russell Reynolds & Associates was to keep the names of the candidates confidential until Austin City Council settled on a final selection. Newton told City Council in March that many of the best candidates for the position are likely employed. He convinced council that for an already employed high-ranking executive, the promise of confidentiality makes it low-risk to be considered for a position that isn’t guaranteed.

Not only will the names be made public before the second round of interviews begin, but the public will have the opportunity to meet the third and final round of candidates prior to a council decision.

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Christopher Neely

Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and USA Today. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

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