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After A Candidate Withdraws, Council Delays Revealing City Manager Candidates

Martin do Nascimento

Austin City Council will not release the names of the finalists vying for the vacant city manager position today.

Council members went to great lengths to keep the selection process secretive last week. After criticism, the council, candidates and the search firm tasked with finding a city manager agreed to make the names public by no later than today. Mayor Steve Adler said that reveal will have to wait – as one of the five candidates has dropped out of the running. 

Last week, council members interviewed the five candidates at a hotel near the airport, but after the second day of interviews, council members unexpectedly drove away and moved to a closed-door room behind airport security checkpoints at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The Austin-American Statesman then sued the city over its refusal to release candidates’ names and over its decision to change its meeting location without notice. 

At Thursday’s council meeting, a representative from Russell Reynolds and Associates, the search firm hired to find Austin's next city manager, promised to release the names to the public by today.

Last night, Austin Mayor Steve Adler posted a message on the Austin City Council message board that the reveal will be pushed back to the end of the month, citing the withdrawal of one of the candidates. 

Our search firm reiterates that we should be honored to have a very impressive group of candidates for the position of City Manager because this speaks well of the high esteem in which the City of Austin is held. That said, a candidate has withdrawn and the search firm recommends we spend 1 or 2 additional weeks reviewing other potential candidates to ensure that we have the finest and most diverse candidate pool. As such, the search firm also recommends we not release candidate names until sometime later this month.

Up to five finalists are expected to meet with council and the City Manager Search Advisory Task Force in early December. The third round of interviews will be set for a later date.

Nadia Hamdan is a local news anchor and host for NPR's "Morning Edition" on KUT.
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