Since the Texas Music Office was established in 1990, the division housed in the Texas governor's office has been run by Casey Monahan, a former music writer. After a quarter century, that's about to change.
In a phone interview, Monahan said that he was recently informed by a member of Gov.-elect Greg Abbott's transition team that he would not be kept in the $75,000-a-year post. His last day will be in February, he said.
The news of his departure was first reported by the Austin American-Statesman.
"I was a little surprised," Monahan said. "But there's always a period of uncertainty when a new governor comes in. It's something everybody knows: When somebody new is elected, big changes happen."
The Texas Music Office was created with a legislative mandate to "promote the development of the music industry in the state by informing members of that industry and the public about the resources available in the state for music production." The staff also serves as the liaison between the industry and state government.
The news of Monahan's departure has drawn strong reactions from those in the music industry.
"Casey is a highly competent and effective public servant who has helped countless Texas musicians and music businesses like SXSW," Roland Swenson, the co-founder and managing director of SXSW, a massive Austin-based festival and conference, wrote in an email. "His international contacts in the music industry have been helping to bring business to Texas for decades. He's served under every Democratic and Republican governor since Bill Clements appointed him as founder of the Texas Music Office. It will be a shame if his job becomes a political patronage position."
Monahan said he did not know if the incoming governor's plans for the Texas Music Office extended beyond a leadership change. A spokesman for Abbott declined to comment on the situation.
Monahan said he did not know what his next gig would be, but added that it would probably be in the music industry — and, he added, hopefully in Texas.
"I didn't want the Texas music industry to think I was just a government guy," Monahan said of his tenure. "I wanted them to know my staff and I were music industry professionals who worked really hard to promote and inform."
--by Reeve Hamilton with The Texas Tribune