City of Austin executives return to office full time

City of Austin executives were welcomed back to in-person work Monday, June 5 after almost three years of telework. 

This change comes from a memo sent out by Interim City Manager Jesus Garza informing city executives they will return to the office full time and all other employees will do three days a week starting Oct. 1. 

It is a decision that has sparked outrage among city employees who have become accustomed to teleworking.

"Why in the world would we do this? It just doesn't make sense, and it is frustrating," said Carol Guthrie, Business Manager for AFSCME Local 1624.

Guthrie with AFSCME Local 1624, the union that represents city employees, says she is working with the interim city manager to find a more comprehensive, data driven policy before Oct. 1.


"I hope the city manager has seen how near and dear telework or remote work is to the city of Austin and employees and how it increases their productivity and how we need to work on a comprehensive data driven policy that includes everyone," she said.

She believes the data will show telework works for some city employees and that in office work could deter that progress.

"It's safer. It's good for the environment. It's increased productivity. Why? Why would you want to change that? I don't understand," said Guthrie.

Guthrie says once the data is collected, the union hopes to meet with the city and create a pathway that works for all city employees whether they want to go in office, telework, or both.

"If we can meet all those three objectives over the summer, then we will be ready for October. If we cannot meet those objectives, then we won't be ready in October and I don't think the city will either," said Guthrie.

Interim City Manager Garza told FOX 7 Austin, previously, that he stands with his decision to change the telework policy.