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Austin fires city administrator

Jim Hurm Mugshot AUST JMS0035.JPG
Jim Hurm

AUSTIN — Austin City Administrator Jim Hurm was fired Monday night.

The Austin City Council met in closed session before its regular meeting to discuss Hurm, who received a bad review last fall from head of city departments, said Mayor Tom Stiehm. When the council returned, it voted unanimously to terminate Hurm, Stiehm said.

Hurm could not be reached for comment this morning.

Stiehm said he couldn't comment directly about the reason for the firing but said it had something to do with the review. "There's no animosity on our part," he said.

He said the council has been meeting in closed sessions for the past few months and while he couldn't say what those meetings were about, said he couldn't deny that they were about Hurm who was hired in April 2003 and had a base salary this year of $109,179.


Performance evaluation

The review done in September stated his "performance was deemed unacceptable with respect to staff supervision and management of department heads." Department heads said his performance was unacceptable for organization, motivation, fairness, leadership, communication, listening skills, decision making and follow up.

But he was also seen as not interfering with how departments were run, was accessible and amenable to communication with differing points of view, according to the evaluation.

"Mr. Hurm's response to this evaluation was that he was surprised that the department heads were as critical as they were; further, he indicated that he would like to communicate with them to rectify," the review states.

It concludes that the performance is so "overwhelmingly negative" that it's unlikely it would be rectified.

What comes next

The council has not decided what to do next, Stiehm said. He and the council members are only at city hall sporadically so they can't manage the city, he said. "Our departments kind of run by themselves" so their heads can take care of day-to-day matters, he said. He expects Administrative Services Director Tom Dankert will be the one the council relies on, he said.

As for the future of the city administrator "I would assume we keep the same thing," he said. But the council could also decide to change its form of government, he said.


"We're not going to jump the gun," he said. "We want to be very careful about it… We want to check out all the options."

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