CBS Austin: City of Austin Pays Much More Than Positions of Leadership at State & Federal Levels 167_CBS_Austin_Gov_Leaders

November 10, 2022 11:04 AM


By Adam Andrzejewski

Working for Austin city government in a leadership position is very lucrative.

Our auditors found Jacqueline Ann Sargeant, the general manager of the electric utility, generated an income of $423,858 – out earning the U.S. President ($400,000). (Sargeant’s pay was tops among the 19,275 city employees in 2021.)

The highly compensated Spencer Cronk is one of the top paid city managers in the country. In 2021, Cronk earned $380,393. For comparison, Governor Greg Abbott made less than half of that pay at $153,750. 

In August, the mayor and city council voted themselves a 40-percent increase in salary. Therefore, in 2023, the mayor will earn $134,191 and the council members $116,421. (COMPARISON: In San Antonio – a larger city with 1.4 million residents vs. only 964,000 in Austin – the mayor makes $61,725 and council members $45,722.) 

More examples of lucrative city pay in executive positions:

  • City attorney (Ann Morgan, $258,185) out earned the Texas attorney general ($153,750) by over $100,000. 
  • Police chief (Joseph Chacon, $230,006) out earned the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security ($203,500).
  • Director of Austin Water (Gregory Meszaros) made $218,465 and out earned the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at $202,147.
  • Library director (Roosevelt Weeks, $190,195) significantly out earned the director of the Chicago Public Library who earned $167,004 last year.

Transportation director (Robert Spillar, $217,297) earned nearly as much as Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation ($221,400), a cabinet level position. 

The city director of parks and recreation (Kimberly McNeeley, $191,570) had pay on par with the Texas director of parks and wildlife ($200,643). 

In total, we found 109 “directors,” “assistant directors,” or “deputy directors” in the city agencies who collectively made nearly $19 million last year – an average base salary of $170,000 each.


Last week, our auditors at identified the Austin $100,000 Club— 3,569 public employees who earned a new ‘minimum wage’ of $100,000 or more. (Review the entire Austin city payroll for the last five years including Austin’s $100,000 Club on our website at

Learn more at

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