The man who has been in charge of the Lower Colorado River Authority for the past three-and-a-half years is resigning. LCRA general manager Tom Mason’s last day on the job will be June 30, according to a news release from the agency.
The LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and has a broad range of important responsibilities, such as managing water supplies to cities throughout Central Texas, including most of Austin. It also develops wastewater systems, takes care of parks, and supports economic development in 58 counties.
Mason says he doesn’t have any immediate plans except “do nothing but rest for the next three or four months,” according to a quote provided in the news release.
But the Statesman’s Asher Price writes that some political observers might believe Mason was forced out.
Mason, at right, was never Perry’s man. An environmental lawyer by training, he had worked as an LCRA attorney since 1987 when he was elevated to the top job by the board in 2007. Ken Armbrister, Perry’s legislative director and a former senator with a background in water issues, had also interviewed in 2007 for the general manager job, which pays more than $300,000 a year. Armbrister is now among the favorites to succeed Mason.
The director of the Lone Star chapter of the Sierra Club, Ken Kramer, issued this statement about Mason's resignation.
“Tom Mason brought a balanced and highly professional perspective to his leadership of LCRA that valued protecting the environment as well as proving reliable water and energy service to LCRA customers. His resignation is a big loss for Texans from the Highland Lakes to Matagorda Bay. But we appreciate his years of service and wish him well. We hope the LCRA Board will have the foresight to replace Tom with someone who will continue his brand of leadership.”