Council confirms Manley as APD Chief, among packed Thursday agenda

Members of the Austin City Council started off their very busy Thursday by speaking at a Keep Austin Affordable rally on the steps of City Hall.

Mayor Adler says Austin has a big affordability challenge and it's time to step forward with a big answer.

"We passed recently the largest mobility bond in the history of the city and that's going to fundamentally change things on the ground, we need that same kind of push with respect to affordability in this city, it's getting worse," Adler said.  

An $816 million bond is being proposed for the November ballot.  

"But for that 2 pennies, we're going to get probably $250 to $300 million for affordable housing, it's going to cover pools and parks, it's going to re-cover bridges in our city that are in danger of falling down," Adler said.  

Council is just hearing from the public about the bond on Thursday.  They won't take any action until their next meeting.  

Council Member Ellen Troxclair says it's another tax increase and people are getting tired of being nickled and dimed.

"One critical thing that I hope the City Council decides to do is to break up the bond into smaller pieces so that people can vote maybe to put additional money into parks and pools but not necessarily more money in housing," Troxclair said.

In the same vein, Troxclair's homestead exemption item passed -- raising the property tax relief from 8% to 10%.  

"I'm hoping to get to the 20% over time but this is just the next step," she said.

Shortly after the council meeting kicked off: a moment 19 months in the making.

"I believe that the community appreciated his leadership during one of the most trying times in recent memory for this city so Mayor and Council, I am pleased to present for your consideration as the Chief of the Austin Police Department: Brian Manley," said City Manager Spencer Cronk.   

To recap, Cronk vetted Brian Manley and only Manley for the Chief job.  He's been with the department since 1990 and led Austin through the bombing nightmare earlier this year as Interim Chief.

Some, like Fatima Mann with the Justice Coalition would have rather seen a nationwide search.

"I'm not saying that he isn't the best person to lead the Austin Police Department.  I'm saying that I can't say that emphatically because there wasn't other people held up against him to see if they would lead us to the place that we possibly want to go," Mann told Council.

Council Member Delia Garza disagreed the process was flawed. 

"If other candidates knew that Chief Manley was in the running and knowing his professionalism, his record of what he's done for this community, they probably wouldn't have entered it," Garza said.

City Council voted unanimously in favor of Manley.

"You know it's almost surreal.  I am honored by my selection to serve as the permanent Chief.  I've got obviously the support of a great department, I appreciate the process that we went through for the selection of the Police Chief here in Austin and we've got work to do," Manley said.

Chief Manley says he will help officers have a "guardian" mentality and focus on the culture of the training academy.  Making sure cadets have effective communication skills.