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Austin Energy's general manager, Jackie Sargent, steps down

A person at a podium with microphones
Michael Minasi
Austin Energy General Manager Jackie Sargent speaks during a news conference about the power outages on Feb. 6.

Austin Energy General Manager Jackie Sargent has retired — effective immediately — according to a memo from interim City Manager Jesús Garza.

Sargent served as the public utility's top executive for nearly six years. Sargent was the highest paid city employee, earning a base salary of $403,374 a year.

“I wish Jackie Sargent the best in retirement," Austin Mayor Kirk Watson said in a statement. "Running Austin Energy is a difficult job and she worked to do it with integrity through some very trying times.”

KUT reached out to Sargent, but has not heard back.

Garza remarked on her “trailblazing career" as a nationally recognized leader in the electric utility industry.

Sargent faced widespread criticism earlier this year for Austin Energy's response to the ice storm, which left hundreds of thousands of Austinites without power.

In an interview earlier this month with Morning Edition host Jennifer Stayton, Sargent shared plans to conduct a third-party study on the future of the utility.

“We’re going to bring in a consultant that has familiarity with that kind of effort and really bring it forward so that the public can see that we’re transparent,” she said. "I’m committed to understanding and being able to explain and being able to share."

Her retirement comes amid several high-level shakeups at the city.

Last month, the City Council voted to fire Spencer Cronk and appoint Garza as interim city manager. Since his appointment, he has announced several departures of city executives, including the resignation of Jacqueline Yaft, executive director of the Austin airport.

Stuart Reilly, Austin Energy's deputy general manager, will serve as interim GM. Reilly has been with the public utility for 14 years. Before that, he was an attorney for Austin Energy under Mayor Will Wynn.

Haya Panjwani is a general assignment reporter, with a focus on Travis County. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @hayapanjw.
Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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