Community members voice concerns over city tensions

Published 8:01 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2023

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Just about one week after Parks and Recreation Director Dave Merrill was let go for posting a note on the Parks, Recreation and Forestry’s Facebook page putting recent tensions on the shoulders of city leaders, citizens of Austin had their chance to speak.

During the public comments section of Monday night’s City Council meeting, several citizens commented on the current strife between the city administration, council and the Parks and Rec board.

Most of the voices simply advocated for clarification of the charter, which has been at the heart of much of strife.

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Others advocated for more transparency and engagement with the public.

When the citizens address was done, Mayor Steve King read a prepared statement in which the message carried with it the hope that sides could come together to continue going forward in improving relations.

At the same time, he reiterated that this kind of governmental structure is normal for other cities.

“All department heads are accountable to this structure,” he said. “It’s not unique to the City of Austin.”

King also said during his statement that the job posting has been made and that he hopes to have the position filled by the end of October.