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City Manager Marc Ott Tells Council He's Being Considered for Another Job

1-Otis-City-Council-Mtg-08182011-By-Daniel-Reese-22.jpg
Daniel Reese for KUT News
City Manager Marc Ott speaking with then-City of Austin CFO Leslie Browder in 2011.

Austin City Manager Marc Ott may be leaving.

Ott told members of the Austin City Council on Monday that he’s a finalist for the executive director position at the Washington, D.C.-based International City/County Management Association, a self-described research and training organization for municipal managers. Ott explains he was approached about the job about a year ago.

Ott has been Austin’s city manager since 2008. He was hired after a stint as assistant city manager in Fort Worth.

While council sets policy, the city manager is responsible for implementing policy and running the day-to-day business of the city. Austin has seen record growth during his tenure, but it hasn’t been without some friction. He has several times undergone drawn-out performance reviews, though none have been made public. Ott drew criticism for his handling of a 2012 case alleging the Austin Fire Department's hiring practices were discriminatory. That complaint was investigated by the Department of Justice, which found the hiring practices were discriminatory. The case was settled in 2014.

He stayed on as city manager when the current council took over after the city's first election of a geographically-representative City Council.

In 2015, Ott took full responsibility for a controversial training session entitled "Women Leading in Government," which drew international attention after video of the presentation – which suggested that women "don't process" financial arguments "in the same way" as their male counterparts – surfaced online. That controversy ended in the resignation of Assistant City Manager Anthony Snipes, one of Ott's top lieutenants.

Ott says he should hear back about the job at the ICMA by mid-July. In the memo Monday, Ott said he's been recruited before, but that he's declined "because of my love for the city and residents of Austin," adding that the offer was "compelling."

You can view Ott’s full memo below: 

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