AUSTIN, Texas — Austin's city manager could receive another $27,000 in housing assistance, but he said he doesn't want it.
Spencer Cronk arrived in February and has been receiving $4,500 a month as a housing allowance which supposed will end in August, but the Joya Hayes, the city’s human resources director, has asked Austin City Council to extend his stipend another six months.
Cronk in a letter to the mayor sent prior to Thursday's planned council meeting where the agenda item is set to be heard, he said he's asking due to the fact that Austin is in an affordability crisis.
"High among the list of priorities we need to address as a City is how we can provide better housing options for all members of our community," Cronk said in the letter.
Hayes argues that SXSW, the Austin serial bombings and vetting Brian Manley for permanent police chief has prevented Cronk from finding a "permanent home."
If approved, the $54,000 stipend will be on top of Cronk's existing $325,000 salary.
FULL LETTER FROM CRONK TO ADLER
Mayor Adler, Mayor Pro Tem Tovo and Council Members -
The Austin American Statesman accurately reflected in a recent article about my first 100 days on the job that the only certainty I can count on each day is that I likely won’t get much sleep. In the same vein, I can also assure you that I have not spent any time looking for permanent housing either. I left my former position in Minneapolis on a Friday in February (after we hosted the Super Bowl 5 days earlier) and started in earnest here in Austin the following Monday. I’m sure you can appreciate that ‘settling in’ has been a gradual process.
That said, I am honored to be your City Manager and take my responsibility of leading by example very seriously. Although agenda item #21 - an extension to my temporary housing allowance - was a provision Council asked to be included in my employment agreement, I am respectfully asking the City Council to support withdrawing this item for consideration from the agenda.
Austin is in an affordability crisis. High among the list of priorities we need to address as a City is how we can provide better housing options for all members of our community. I look forward to working with Council and with community to find ways to manage our growth as a City in responsible, authentic and equitable ways.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
It is not known at this time if the agenda item will be removed. Refresh story for updates as they become available.