Today, City of Austin Interim City Manager Jesús Garza announced a reorganization of the portfolios for the assistant city managers and chief financial officer. The changes are being made to prioritize the public’s needs and ensure reliability of services for Austinites.
“I have assessed the inner workings of this organization and believe changes are needed to position us for the best possible service delivery now and into the future,” Jesús Garza, Interim City Manager, City of Austin, said. “My highest priority is to organize our people and our work so that we are operating cohesively and focused on problem-solving. I believe this structure will be conducive to reducing process redundancies and to operating at the highest efficiency.”
Garza laid out the changes, which are focused on action and customer service, in a memo to the City Council and City of Austin department directors that is included following this release. Changes are effective immediately. Major tenets of the reorganization include:
Garza also made clear how he is approaching his interim role and what his priorities are as interim city manager.
“We need to deliver basic city services with excellence and reliability while supporting the City Council’s highest priorities and ensuring we are making meaningful progress on those priorities. I cannot emphasize enough the importance and value of teamwork, encouraging innovation and promoting high standards for public service within this organization.”
TO: Department Directors
FROM: Interim City Manager Jesús Garza
DATE: March 24, 2023
RE: ACM and CFO assignments
I have had the opportunity to meet with you and further assess the organization's strengths. I have since identified opportunities to position us for the best possible service delivery now and into the future.
My purpose in leading the organization is to focus on 1) delivering basic city services with excellence and reliability 2) supporting the Mayor and City Council’s highest priorities and ensuring we are making meaningful progress on those priorities and 3) emphasizing the values of teamwork, encouraging innovation within the organization, and promoting high standards for public service.
All of this requires a bias to action and a strong alignment between the Mayor, City Council, and the organization.
My highest priority is to organize our people and our work so that the organization is operating cohesively and supports an integrated approach to problem solving and enterprise-wide thinking. This structure must be conducive to reducing processes, redundancies, and inefficiencies.
I want to reinforce leadership behaviors that nurture alternate and innovative strategies that are practical, sound and challenge the designers of our process to address the issues faced by the community and our customers.
To accomplish these goals with these values, I am making the following organizational changes effective immediately:
I also believe that it is healthy for our organization to occasionally rotate portfolios among Assistant City Managers to bring new perspectives to important issues and challenges. To that end, below are the new Assistant City Manager and Chief Financial Officer assignments:
The following Departments will continue to report directly to the City Manager:
Chief Financial Officer, Ed Van Eenoo
Interim Assistant City Manager Robert Goode
• Capital Delivery Services Department–this will be a new department fully dedicated to capital program implementation and more detail will follow regarding the purview and responsibilities.
Assistant City Manager Veronica Briseño
Assistant City Manager Rodney Gonzales
Assistant City Manager Stephanie Hayden-Howard
Interim Assistant City Manager Bruce Mills
As you know, I have a bias for action and timely decision making. The organization needs to move more quickly and decisively. The leadership traits I am prioritizing are:
Lauren Middleton-Pratt became the Assistant City Manager for Buda, Texas in April of 2019. She brings more than 10 years of urban planning and development experience to the Outdoor Capital of Texas. As ACM, Middleton-Pratt has overseen Buda’s Development Services Department which includes Planning & Zoning, Engineering, Building Inspections, and Code Enforcement, Tourism, Main Streets, Communications & Marketing, Parks & Recreations and Facilities Management. Prior to city management, Lauren worked in urban planning in both public and private sectors from city-wide redevelopment projects in Boston, Massachusetts to consulting the United State Air Force and higher education institutions with their real estate development demands. Lauren is a native of San Antonio, Texas with strong roots in New Orleans, Louisiana where she earned a BA in Communications & Business Administration from Xavier University of Louisiana. She also holds a Master of City Planning degree from Boston University. Lauren is active in the Texas City Management Association, currently serving as a member of the Allies Across Texas subcommittee and an E-Board member for the Women Leading Government Central Texas Chapter; she is a 2020 graduate of the Texas Women’s Leadership Institute which is a program focused on preparing and empowering women to become city managers; a member of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.