Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk held a press conference Monday afternoon asking for public input on his decision to vet Brian Manley and only Brian Manley for the permanent Austin Police Chief job.
Cronk says he hasn't looked at resumes but he has looked at other cities who have gone through chief searches recently. Cronk says after talking with community leaders, he learned giving Manley a chance to share his leadership vision was the right call.
There are community forums set up and he's also encouraging Austinites to e-mail the city or reach out through 311 with some of the characteristics they'd like to see in a chief, some of the immediate challenges the chief will face and what issues the chief should address over the next 5 years.
Cronk says the reason for naming a finalist before the input process is timing. He says it's important to move forward.
"I could decide to move forward with a national search today or I could do it after this engagement period. After hearing from the community it was overwhelmingly 'let's vet who we have now and if we need to go to a national search let's do it then,'" Cronk said.
Chief Manley himself spoke about his candidacy for the chief job at APD headquarters Monday afternoon.
"We've got work to do, so this is not the time to celebrate. Again, I'm honored and I'm humbled by the opportunity that's before me. I'm ecstatic about the past 17 months that I've had to do something that I've never thought I would have the opportunity to do. But this isn't about celebration. This is about getting the work and making sure we keep this community safe," Manley said.
It would be an understatement to say quite a bit has happened in Austin since late 2016 when Manley took the reins of police chief from Art Acevedo.
After council named him interim chief, Fox 7 asked him outside of City Hall if he was hoping to someday fill that spot for the long haul.
"Are you asking if I'm interested in this job permanently? Yes I am. I mean it when I say -- the opportunity, the honor, the ability to serve in the community where I've grown up, it's quite an honor," Manley said in 2016.
Manley, who has been with the department since 1990, said his focus would be on running the department, not politicking for the big job. He'd leave that decision up to the City Manager.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler says he got to see Manley's leadership up close during the bombing crisis.
"He was able to help conclude that timely and quickly in a community that was beginning to fray," Adler said.
Adler says City Manager Cronk's engagement process makes good sense to him. And he's excited for Manley that he's being considered.
"Obviously there were some issues that were raised about the investigation and some of the statements that were made. I think those were learning opportunities for all of us," Adler said.
"He's a qualified police chief, no doubt about that, but the process for this is a little different, a little difficult," said Nelson Linder, president of the Austin NAACP.
Linder says council praising and urging the immediate appointment of Chief Manley was unfair to the process and put pressure on the City Manager.
"This should have occurred last year in normal times when you had different candidates and the best man wins the job. But due to the incident in March, the terrorism...domestic. That changed the whole equation," Linder said.
But Linder says Manley is highly competent and thinks he'll do well.
Cronk says he expects public engagement to take about a month.
The City Manager will make the decision on who the chief is and then council will confirm.
Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday has confirmed to FOX 7 Austin that Interim Austin Police Department Chief Brian Manley is the lone candidate to become the permanent APD Chief.
Casaday released a statement to FOX 7 Austin's Casey Claiborne about the news saying:
Manley has been with APD since 1990 and was promoted to interim chief in December 2016 when then Chief Art Acevedo moved to head the Houston Police Department.
Manley grew up in Austin and graduated from Johnston High School before attending University of Texas Austin to get his bachelor's degree and then St. Edward's University for his master's degree.
The final decision on who will become APD Chief will be made by City Manager Spencer Cronk.