Shannon Jones, who began his new duties this week, will work on a number of City priorities including the COVID-19 response.
A former director of Austin Public Health has been appointed Interim Assistant City Manager (ACM) for Health & Environment and Culture & Lifelong Learning.
Shannon Jones, III began his new duties yesterday, January 4, 2021, as former ACM Chris Shorter moves to Baltimore to become the City Administrator there.
The ACM position that Mr. Jones will be filling while the City recruits a permanent replacement is responsible for a number of City priorities, including homelessness, key elements of the City’s COVID-19 response, and parks and open spaces.
Departments that sit under the two priority outcomes (“Health & Environment” and “Culture & Lifelong Learning”) include Animal Services, Austin Public Health, Austin Public Library, Austin Resource Recovery, Parks and Recreation, and Sustainability.
“They say that nobody really leaves the City of Austin,” said Mr. Jones. “Having already spent a significant portion of my career serving the community here I am excited to return once again and contribute to the great work City employees are doing, particularly around minimizing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
City Manager Spencer Cronk added: “While Chris will be missed, we are very fortunate to be able to call upon such an experienced public servant as Shannon Jones to take on the substantial responsibilities of steering the City’s work on health, the environment, culture and lifelong learning. We look forward to welcoming Shannon back into the City of Austin family.”
The recruitment for the new permanent Assistant City Manager will begin by January 15, 2021.
Mr. Jones served as the Director of Austin Public Health for two years before retiring from the City of Austin in 2017, after 18 years of service working in the community to improve the health and wellbeing of others in Austin and Travis County.
Under his oversight, APH achieved accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), and was one of the first five accredited public health agencies in the State of Texas. He was previously Deputy Director of Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department from August 2011 to April 2015, and had served on the department’s staff since July 1999.
Mr. Jones might be best known in the community as founder of the local radio talk show “Health Talk” on KAZI FM 88.7, which for more than 11 years has focused on improving the health of residents of Austin and Travis County.
Mr. Jones holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, a Master of Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh, and has completed course work towards the PhD in Management and Policy from The University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. In addition he is a Woodrow Wilson Administrative Fellow and an Associate in the American College of Healthcare Executives.
City Manager Cronk also has named Michael McDonald as an advisor to the Reimagining Public Safety Leadership Team within the City Manager's Office. McDonald retired from the City in 2014 after 31 years of service to the city, including as the first African-American assistant police chief and the first African-American Deputy City Manager in Austin’s history.