City of Austin delays release of city manager finalists’ identities after one candidate withdraws


Although City Council was scheduled to release the names of the city manager position finalists on Monday, they have since been advised to hold off until later this month.

Consulting firm Russell Reynolds & Associates recommended the delay after one candidate withdrew their name from the finalist pool, according to a Sunday post from Austin Mayor Steve Adler on the City Council message board.

The consulting firm also advised council to spend an additional one to two weeks reviewing the other finalist candidates.

“A candidate has withdrawn and the search firm recommends we spend [one or two]additional weeks reviewing other potential candidates to ensure that we have the finest and most diverse candidate pool,” Adler’s post read. “As such, the search firm also recommends we not release candidate names until sometime later this month.”

Adler’s office and Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The news comes only a few days after City Council agreed to bring back between two and five candidates for the final round of interviews and release their identities by Monday, Nov. 13.

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 said the promise of confidentiality lowers the risk for already-employed, high-ranking personnel to be considered for a position that is not guaranteed.

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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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