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Hurm recommends possible new HRA executive director

City Administrator Jim Hurm asked the Austin City Council on Monday to consider City Engineer Jon Erichson's interest in a part-time position as Austin's Housing and Redevelopment Authority director.

Hurm has been the HRA executive director since he came to Austin nearly nine years ago. He's also the city administrator and executive director for Austin's Port Authority. He's not aware of any other city in the state that has one person handling these three jobs, according to his memo to the mayor, city council and HRA board.

With HRA staff retirements coming in the next couple of years, resulting in many hiring and training processes, plus the implementation of the Housing Improvement Program, more time will be needed for the executive director position, Hurm said.

"More time is needed than I feel I can afford," Hurm said.

The position is part-time. The HRA board recently put together a survey asking staff members their opinions on whether a full-time or part-time director is needed. A majority indicated a part-time director is sufficient, according to Hurm's memo.


One of the options going forward would be to look to Erichson, who's considering retirement from the city next year (he's eligible under public employee rules) and would be interested in a part-time position in the HRA director role, according to the memo.

Hurm pointed out Erichson manages a staff of more than 60 people, has experience in maintenance and public works and has a history of acquiring grants for the engineering department.

"I am convinced Jon has the ability to provide strong leadership and stability that would keep the HRA running smoothly," Hurm stated in the memo.

Council member and HRA board member Roger Boughton voiced his support and thanks to Hurm for keeping the HRA afloat. He would support the addition of Erichson to the organization.

Other council members weren't as certain. Brian McAlister said he needs to hear from the HRA board and what members think they need in terms of an executive director. Jeff Austin echoed those thoughts.

"I'm kind of uncomfortable with this proposal right now," McAlister said.

Marian Clennon was concerned about which body should make the decision — the HRA board or the city council.

"The HRA board is totally separate from the council," Clennon said. "And it should be their decision."


Boughton said it's a courtesy to bring the item to the council, as was done Monday.

The first thing that needs to be done is to make sure this is what the HRA board wants to do, Hurm said. This is his recommendation to the board, and Hurm said he told the HRA board about the memo.

Hurm said he has not put in his resignation from his executive director position at HRA. The idea is to gradually bring Erichson into the role with a few hours here and there, Hurm said.

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