SPENCER CRONK, CITY MANAGER

Spencer Cronk joined the City of Austin as City Manager on February 12, 2018, following a vote by City Council formalizing his appointment.

Biography

Before joining the City of Austin, Spencer Cronk was Minneapolis City Coordinator (City Administrator). He directed the management of Minneapolis city government by assisting the Mayor and City Council in defining City policy and establishing priorities, mobilizing department heads and staff to implement the Mayor and Council’s priorities, and working to strengthen the management and administrative systems of the City.

Mr. Cronk previously served as Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Administration, a role he was appointed to by Governor Mark Dayton in 2011. As Commissioner, Mr. Cronk led the state’s real property, purchasing, fleet, demographic analysis and risk management divisions responsible for more than $2 billion in State purchasing and the historic renovatiCecon of the Minnesota State Capitol. Additionally, Mr. Cronk also served as chair of the Minnesota Public Data Governance Advisory Committee, and as a member of the Environmental Quality Board and the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council.

Before joining the State of Minnesota, Mr. Cronk served as executive director of organizational development and senior advisor for the Department of Small Business Services for the City of New York, under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His accomplishments there included the design and implementation of a comprehensive performance-management system and the development of a program for integrating new employees, which was used citywide as a best practice template for the City of New York’s 300,000 employees.

Mr. Cronk has served a number of community organizations and agencies, including as an Advisory Council member for Northern Spark, a member of the Minnesota Advisory Board of the Trust for Public Land, and a member of the Itasca Project Task Force on Socioeconomic Disparities in the Twin Cities. He was a recipient of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Award in 2013.

Mr. Cronk received his bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is a graduate of Harvard University’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program and was a Public Affairs Fellow with the Coro New York Leadership Center.

NURIA RIVERA-VANDERMYDE 
Deputy City Manager

Biography

Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde was appointed Deputy City Manager in October 2019 and oversees the Government that Works for All outcome.  She is an attorney by profession and brings over 20 years of executive experience in both the public and private sectors to her new role.  Prior to joining the City of Austin, she served as City Coordinator for the City of Minneapolis, after serving previously as the Deputy City Coordinator and the Director of Regulatory Services for the City of Minneapolis.  In her role in the City Coordinator’s Office – the department charged with providing leadership and direction in the management of city government – Ms. Rivera-Vandermyde assisted the Mayor and City Council in defining City policy and establishing priorities, mobilized departments to implement the Mayor and Council’s priorities, and worked to strengthen the management and administrative systems of the City.  She helped ensure major citywide projects were aligned across the enterprise and had direct oversight responsibilities for the following departments: 311, 911, Convention Center, Communications, Emergency Management, Finance and Property Services, Human Resources, Information Technology, Intergovernmental Relations, & Neighborhood and Community Relations. 

Key highlights of her accomplishments during her tenure at the City include leading the City’s Minimum Wage and Safe & Sick Leave ordinances, creation of the City’s first division of Race and Equity, passage of the City’s first Strategic and Racial Equity Action Plan, development of the City’s first supplier diversity spend dashboard, overhaul of the City’s performance management and innovation programs, development of the City’s comprehensive tiered licensing system, code rewrite for the City’s animal care ordinance, establishment of the City’s first Transgender Equity Council, and the successful transition of the City’s first major homeless encampment to a service-rich Navigation Center for over 175 residents.

Ms. Rivera-Vandermyde has served on a number of community boards and organizations including HousingLink, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting low-to-moderate income families to affordable housing choices, and was named one of Bloomberg Philanthropies “Data-driven Women to Watch” in 2018.

A native of Puerto Rico, Ms. Rivera-Vandermyde earned her B.A at Amherst College and her J.D. from New York University School of Law. Prior to joining the City of Minneapolis, Ms. Rivera-Vandermyde’s experience also included international consulting specializing in judicial and regulatory compliance, oversight of the correctional system in Puerto Rico as Deputy Commissioner, CEO of a non-profit healthcare corporation charged with providing healthcare services to over 14,000 inmates, and private practice experience as a corporate litigator in Boston, MA.

 

ASSISTANT CITY MANAGERS

REY ARELLANO
ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER

Biography

Rey Arellano was appointed Assistant City Manager in September 2013 and oversees the Public Safety Services outcome.

From 2006 through 2012, Rey served as Deputy City Manager & Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the City of Tacoma, Washington. He served as Interim City Manager for a seven-month period, during which time he obtained City Council approval to implement a two-phase plan to address a $31 million gap in a $399 million 2011-2012 biennial General Fund budget. His other major accomplishments included serving as the City’s lead in a multi-jurisdictional effort that led to the establishment of South Sound 9-1-1, a consolidated regional public safety communications dispatch center and the establishment of an Office of Sustainability. From 2002 through 2006, Rey served as Deputy City Manager & CIO for the City of San Diego, California.

Rey completed a 22‐year career as a U.S. Navy Officer, serving as a nuclear‐trained Submarine Officer on various submarines and other staff assignments. In his last tour of duty in the Navy, Rey served as Officer in Charge of the San Diego Detachment of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Norfolk. In this position, he was responsible for the implementation and life cycle support of business and logistics software for over 700 Navy and Marine Corps sites in the Pacific Fleet. He earned a Master of Science in Information Management from Marymount University, Arlington, VA; and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD.

GINA FIANDACA
ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER

Biography

Gina Fiandaca was appointed Assistant City Manager in May 2019 and oversees the Mobility outcome.
Gina most recently served as Commissioner of the City of Boston Transportation Department (BTD). As Commissioner, she oversaw staff who work together to ensure safe, efficient, and equitable access on Boston’s street system for all users through a combination of transportation planning, engineering, management, operations, and enforcement efforts. Under Gina’s leadership, the department released the 15-year, $4.74B “Go Boston 2030," which was Boston’s first major transportation plan in decades that included mobility projects and polices to expand access, improve safety, and ensure reliability.

Gina served as Chair of the City of Boston Air Pollution Control Commission, as well as a member of the City of Boston Public Improvement Commission and the Boston Emergency Management Agency, the National Association of Transportation Officials and the Massachusetts Area Planning Council. Gina received a bachelor’s degree from Suffolk University and an MBA from Boston University.
 

RODNEY GONZALES
ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER

Biography

Biography
Rodney Gonzales was appointed Assistant City Manager in February 2019 and oversees Economic Opportunity & Affordability outcome.
He has 23 years of experience in key leadership positions in local government, 13 of which are with the City of Austin.  Rodney began his career in finance, serving as the Director of Finance for the cities of San Marcos and Luling, Texas.

As the former Director for the City of Austin’s Development Services Department, Rodney led key reforms at DSD aimed at achieving greater service delivery through process improvement, increasing employee training, and implementing new technology. Rodney’s focus on the workplace environment and alignment of vision and actions, were his guiding principles while developing a sustainable culture of excellent customer service.

As the former Deputy Director of the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department, Rodney led major economic development and redevelopment projects resulting in significant job creation, employee retention, and downtown revitalization. He spearheaded inaugural 2012 and 2013 U.S. Formula One Grands Prix, which included not only city-wide preparation but also included regional, state, and federal agency coordination.

Rodney holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelors degree from Texas State University. He is recognized as a Certified Public Manager from TSU, and he was a graduate level guest lecturer on the topic of public administration for several years at TSU.
 

 

CHRISTOPHER J. SHORTER
ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER

Biography

Christopher J. Shorter was appointed Assistant City Manager in February 2019 and oversees the Health & Environment and Culture & Lifelong Learning outcomes.
Prior to his appointment as Assistant City Manager, Chris served in leadership roles for the District of Columbia (DC) Government over the past 10 years.  Most recently, Chris served as Director of the DC Department of Public Works, which provided environmental sustainability, protection and enforcement programs, as well as, solid waste management, parking enforcement and fleet management services.

Previously, Chris served as the Director of Agency Operations in the Office of the City Administrator where he provided direct oversight of the offices of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining, Performance Management and Agency Operations. Chris also served as the Chief Operating Officer for the District Department of Health (DOH); and, Chief Operating Officer with the District Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. Chris also worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

He received a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public & International Affairs and a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida. He is also a graduate of the ICMA Senior Executive Institute at the Darden School of Business, as well as, Senior Executive leadership training programs at the Georgetown University, the Wharton School of Business, and George Washington University.

 

 

ELAINE HART, CPA
Chief Financial Officer

Biography

Elaine Hart was appointed Deputy City Manager in addition to her Chief Financial Officer duties effective upon the adoption of the City’s fiscal year 2019 budget. She currently oversees the Government that Works for All outcome.

Previously, Ms. Hart served as Interim City Manager from October 2016 until early February 2018 when Spencer Cronk became City Manager.  At that time, she returned to her Chief Financial Officer position. Ms. Hart is most proud of the City’s excellent credit rating.

  • Austin has maintained its 'AAA' bond rating for general obligation debt from all three major U.S. financial rating agencies - Standard & Poor's, Moody's Investors Service, and Fitch Ratings - since Fiscal Year 2010.  The 'AAA' rating is the highest attainable bond rating that a city can achieve and allows the City to borrow money at a lower cost.
  • Ms. Hart has over 40 years’ experience in public and private sector finance including a career with the City of Austin that spans 30 years (service not continuous). She has been the City’s Chief Financial Officer since April 2012. Prior to her appointment as Chief Financial Officer, she served for 14.5 years as Senior Vice President of Finance and Corporate Services for Austin Energy, Austin's municipally-owned electric utility. Three major accomplishments while at Austin Energy improved the utility’s competitive position and lowered costs including:
  • Austin Energy’s bond ratings upgraded twice – in spring 2006 by all three rating agencies (“a triple crown”) and in summer 2004 by two rating agencies. Improved ratings signal better credit quality and allow debt issuance at a lower interest rate, thus reducing costs.  
  • Led effort in 2002, including presentations to institutional investors and rating agencies, which gained bondholder consent to increase financial flexibility in combined utility revenue bond covenants with no negative impact on credit quality. Replaced $166 million revenue bond retirement cash reserve ($116 million Austin Energy and $50 million for Austin Water) with a surety policy. Reserve monies released and used to decrease debt; reducing costs.
  • Developed and implemented new bond covenants to maximize financial flexibility following passage of Texas electric restructuring legislation. Separate lien revenue bond ordinance developed and presented to rating agencies. Debt issued under new covenants for Austin Energy and Austin Water since January 2001.  Combined utility revenue bond lien was closed.

During her tenure at the City she previously served as Chief Financial Officer in the late 1980s and in other financial capacities including Assistant Finance Director, City Controller, and Deputy City Auditor. Ms. Hart also has private sector auditing, accounting, and consulting experience. She earned a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Texas at Arlington and is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Texas.

 

ASSISTANT TO THE CITY MANAGER

JASON ALEXANDER

Biography

Jason Alexander was appointed Assistant to the City Manager in July 2016 and is responsible for providing direct operational support to the City Manager and liaising with City Council and constituents on the City Manager’s behalf.

Jason has 15 years of experience with the City of Austin and has worked for several departments during his tenure, including Parks and Recreation, the City Manager’s Office, Human Resources, and Emergency Medical Services.  Prior to returning to the City Manager’s Office, Jason worked as a Senior Business Process Consultant with the Austin Fire Department where he managed a staff team and coordinated the department’s legislative efforts.

In addition to his professional duties, Jason is also active in several civic and professional organizations, including the International City/County Management Association; Texas City Management Association and Texas Municipal League; Urban Management Assistants of Central Texas; and the American Society for Public Administration, where he has served in several leadership capacities including President of the Central Texas Chapter in 2015.

Jason has a Master of Public Administration degree from Texas State University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin. He also has a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University and is a graduate of the Texas Municipal League Leadership Academy.