Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk announced in late December the selections of Rodney Gonzales and Chris Shorter as Assistant City Managers in his first steps toward reorganizing the executive team to align with Austin’s Strategic Direction.
Gonzales will oversee departments and projects focused on economic opportunity and affordability. Shorter will manage efforts on health & environment and culture & lifelong learning.
“Rodney and Chris stood out amongst the other candidates as people who understand the challenges facing Austin. It was clear to me that they’re well-prepared to work with our community and our employees to advance strategies that can address those challenges in a way that aligns with our priorities,” said Cronk. “Both of them are ready to hit the ground running.”
Development Services Director Gonzales has been selected as the Assistant City Manager to oversee the City of Austin’s Economic Development and Affordability Strategic Priority. He assumes his new position on January 6, and will oversee Development Services, Planning and Zoning, Economic Development, Neighborhood Housing and Community Development, Real Estate, and Telecommunications and Regulatory Affairs.
Gonzales was appointed Director of DSD in 2015 upon the release of the Zucker Report and the reorganization of the Planning and Development Review Department into two separate departments: Planning and Zoning and Development Services. During his time with DSD, the department has implemented numerous customer service improvements, including the transition of the department from the General Fund to an Enterprise Fund.
Shorter has served in leadership roles for the District of Columbia (DC) Government for the past 10 years. Most recently he has been the district’s Director of Public Works which provides environmental services and solid waste management for residents. He has also held roles as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for DC’s Department of Health and as COO and Chief of Staff for the district’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.
This process started in late July when Cronk issued a memo outlining the restructuring of the City Manager’s Office around outcomes articulated in the Strategic Direction 2023. “The feedback I received at the start of the process has been invaluable in identifying leaders whose background and approach will align with the expectations of our community moving forward,” Cronk noted, adding his recognition for those who have served in interim roles during the search. “Both Sara Hensley and Joe Pantalion deserve thanks and credit for the seamless leadership they’ve provided. They’re an example of the incredible skill and deep professional depth we have here at the city.”
Hensley and Pantalion will return to their jobs as Director of the Parks and Recreation Department and Watershed Protection Department, respectively. The recruitment for the next two Assistant City Managers, overseeing Mobility and Safety, opened on November 20. The search for a Deputy City Manager is slated to begin in Spring 2019.