Austin Energy - City of Austin, TX

Chief of Staff

Location: Austin Energy - City of Austin, TX
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Austin Energy - Chief of Staff
City of Austin

About Austin, Texas
This vibrant and dynamic city tops numerous lists for business, entertainment and quality of life. One of the country’s most popular, high-profile and “green” cities was selected as the “Best City for the Next Decade” (Kiplinger), the “Top Creative Center” in the US (Entrepreneur.com), #1 on the “On Numbers Economic Index” as the fastest growing economy, and #9 on Forbes list of “America’s Best Employers” making the City of Austin the highest ranking employer in the government services sector.  Austin continues to lead the country with its vision of being the “Most livable city in the country” emerging as a player on the international scene with such events as SXSW, Austin City Limits, Formula 1 and being home to companies such as Apple, Samsung, Dell, Seton and St. David’s Healthcare. From the home of state government and institutions of higher education to the “Live Music Capital of the World” and its growth as a film center, Austin has gained worldwide attention as a hub for education, business, health and sustainability. Since 1900, Austin’s population has doubled every 20 years. 

Austin City Government
The City of Austin is a progressive, dynamic, full-service municipal organization operating under the Council-Manager form of government. Austin’s mayor is elected from the city at large and ten council members are elected from single-member districts. Terms of the mayor and council members are four years and terms are staggered so that a general election is held every two years with half the council being elected at each election. Term limits for the mayor and council members provide for two consecutive four-year terms. The City Council is responsible for appointment of the City Manager who is the Chief Administrative and Executive Officer of the city, City Clerk, City Auditor, Municipal Court Judges and the Municipal Court Clerk. 

The Mayor, Council and City Manager of Austin are committed to their mission of delivering the highest quality services in the most cost-effective manner. The organization’s vision is to make Austin the most livable city in the country and the City Manager’s resolve is to make it the best-managed city in the country. 

Austin Energy (AE)
Austin Energy serves a 437-square mile territory that includes those within Austin as well as portions of Travis and Williamson counties. This includes approximately 465,000 electric customer accounts with more than 15 percent of the customer base outside the city limits. Austin Energy is the eighth largest publicly owned utility in the United States with more than $3.5 billion in assets and more than $1 billion in annual revenue. The utility transfers 12 percent of its non-fuel revenues to the city’s General Fund.

Austin Energy is forecasting a budget of $1.34 billion for FY 2017-2018. The organization’s strong economic and demographic characteristics, competitive retail rates, diverse power supply mix, high liquidity and history of solid operation earned the utility consistent ratings in recent years: AA-Stable with Fitch, Inc.; Aa3 with Moody’s; and AA with Standard & Poor’s.

The City of Austin is responsible for regulating, monitoring and approving annual budgets, retail rate changes, reliability, customer concerns and generation resource construction, planning and operations. The State of Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) approves transmission rates and interfaces on reliability and wholesale market issues along with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

Austin Energy is a municipally owned, vertically integrated power utility that is part of ERCOT. Most of the rest of the state exists in a deregulated market in which electric customers may select from hundreds of constantly changing offerings from retail energy providers. It is essential for Austin Energy and its staff to balance community values and priorities with affordability and competitiveness to continue offering an exceptional level of service. The PUC also provides additional grid oversight.

Austin Energy’s owned generating assets include:

  • Decker Creek: 930 MW - two gas-fired steam units and four gas combustion turbines
  • Sand Hill: 592 MW -  a 322 MW natural gas combined cycle unit (2004), six natural gas fired combustion turbines totaling 270 MW

Austin Energy’s co-owned power supply resources include:

  • South Texas Project: two-unit nuclear plant, 400 MW share, one of the lowest operating cost nuclear plants in the nation
  • Fayette Power Project: three-unit coal-fired plant, 570 MW share — half of two units, PRB coal

Austin Energy also has downtown district cooling systems. Three systems serve a total of 66 customers and more than 17 million square feet of space. The thermal storage tanks allow the utility to shift electric consumption to off-peak periods. The downtown system consists of two district cooling plants serving 43 customers, the Domain system serves 17 customers and the Mueller Energy Center serves six customers. The Mueller Energy Center also provides electricity and steam to Dell Children’s Hospital.

The City of Austin considers Austin Energy a vital part of its program to be carbon-neutral by 2050. The utility buys all of its power from the ERCOT market and sells all of its production (whether from owned traditional sources or contracted renewable resources) to the ERCOT market. Customers pay the difference as part of a Power Supply Adjustment. Currently, more than 26 percent of the utility’s total sales of electric power — purchased from the ERCOT market — are balanced by the utility’s contracted renewable power. The Council has directed the utility to reach a 55 percent renewable goal by 2025, with significant new investment in solar and wind contracts. 

Austin Energy’s electric service delivery division works out of four operating centers. In recent years, this division became the first ISO 9001-certified delivery group in the United States. The utility’s assets include 623 miles of transmission lines with 14 transmission substations. Austin Energy operates more than 11,000 miles of distribution line and a significant underground downtown network. Austin’s 2015 System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) was about 56 minutes and System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) was about .65 outages per customer. 

The Position
The Chief of Staff reports to the General Manager (GM) with nominal direction.  This positon has responsibility for strategic leadership and direction to include managing the flow and exchange of information, streamlining interactions with key constituents, conducting research as requested for strategic and/or special projects and driving initiatives on behalf of the AE General Manager. This position serves as a liaison to the Office of the City Manager, Mayor and Council, other City departments and external stakeholders on behalf of the AE General Manager. 

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Supervises, coordinates and directs the activities of the AE General Manager’s office and assists with the day-to-day operations and long-range planning.
  • Assists the AE General Manager with planning for the organization and communicates on behalf of the GM in an official capacity.
  • Prepares and revises requests for information on behalf of the AE General Manager for the Office of the City Manager, Mayor and Council and addresses challenges and resolves problems in a consistent fashion; observing city, state and federal laws, policies, regulations and operating agreements.
  • Provides communication and assistance in the development of broad organizational policies and strategic initiatives for the AE General Manager to ensure the department’s  strategic goals, strategy, objectives and performance measures are effectively communicated to City of Austin officials, customers and employees.
  • Ensures the AE GM is prepared with briefing materials and key issues required for participation in meetings, conferences and other scheduled events.
  • Identifies and manages critical issues that have significant impact to the AE GM’s executive strategy for organizational effectiveness, improvement and goals.
  • Coordinates the development of strategies and operational plans for external relations including business and community relations to provide a cohesive and comprehensive perspective of the Utility.
  • Participates and collaborates with other city departments and department directors coordinating directives to collect relevant data and resources to obtain insight and perspectives related to critical decisions and draft decision briefs, including preliminary option analysis, impact on AE, staff and community for the AE GM and executive team.
  • Participates in financial briefings and gains a thorough understanding of AE’s budget, revenues and unique relationship to the general fund of the City of Austin.
  • Assists with the development of policy, procedures, regulations and work processes to support efficient organizational operations at AE.
  • Attends meetings and makes presentations as required on behalf of the AE GM.
  • Prepares and contributes to the preparation of reports, briefings, presentations and responses on AE’s issues as appropriate.
  • Manages assigned staff and special projects as directed by the AE GM.
  • Responsible for the full range of supervisory activities including selection, training, evaluation, counseling, and recommendation for dismissal.

Knowledge and Abilities

  • Knowledge of Public Administration principles, fiscal planning and budget preparation.
  • Knowledge of utility operations.
  • Knowledge of principles of supervision, training and performance evaluation.
  • Knowledge of principles, practices and policies pertinent to the business.
  • Knowledge of pertinent federal, state, and local laws, codes and regulations.
  • Ability to stay focused and thrives in a fast-paced multi-tasking environment, ensuring that all open items relating to the AE General Manager’s office are completed.
  • Ability to interpret, explain and apply city and Austin Energy policies and procedures.
  • Ability to understand departmental operations, services and activities.
  • Ability to prepare clear and concise reports.
  • Ability to navigate applicable software applications to collect, analyze and report data and share information.

Education and Experience
Qualified candidates will have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in Engineering, Business, Public Administration or a related field plus five years of experience related to electric utility or other energy related organization, two years of which were in a managerial capacity.   A Master’s degree may substitute for experience up to a maximum of two years. 

The Ideal Candidate
The ideal candidate needs to be an organized, self-directed leader with the ability to pick up concepts quickly and set priorities.  This person will act on behalf of the General Manager, but should also be willing to raise difficult issues when necessary. 

This individual should be politically savvy with the ability to establish strong connections, foster teamwork, and build effective relationships within Austin Energy, the office of the City Manager, Mayor and Council, other City departments, and external stakeholders. 

This individual must be able to display transparency and adhere to the highest ethical and moral standards. Advanced written and oral communication skills are imperative for this position.   

Salary
Austin Energy offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience and extensive benefits including a generous pension system. Relocation assistance will be available for a successful out of area candidate. 

How to Apply
Interested applicants should forward a cover letter and resume to: 

resumes@affionpublic.com
Reference: AECOS 

Affion Public
2120 Market Street
Suite 100
Camp Hill, PA 17011
888.321.4922
Fax: 717-214-2205
www.affionpublic.com 

The City of Austin is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.  

*Deadline to receive resumes is November 10, 2017