Replacing City Manager Sculley Not An Overwhelming Task for City Leaders

by Morgan Montalvo

WOAI News

Replacing  retiring San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley may be a formidable  task, but far from an impossible one, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports. 

Sculley  on Thursday announced her retirement, effective before the end of next June, less than a  month after two of three hard-fought ballot initiatives passed voter  muster during the midterm elections. 

One, Proposition B, called for  capping future city manager salaries at ten times the salary of the  lowest-paid city worker and limited the tenure of the position to eight  years. 

The  passage of “Prop B” was considered by some a no-confidence vote for  Sculley, the state’s highest-paid city manager, who has been in a  protracted battle with the San Antonio Professional Firefighters  Association over the terms of an employment contract. 

Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the business community campaigned aggressively in opposition to Propositions A, B and C.  Only Proposition A was defeated. 

UTSA  Public Administration Professor Heywood Sanders says, whatever led to  Sculley's announcement, council members undoubtedly have interpreted the  will of the people.  

“I  suspect they found themselves in a politically rather uncomfortable  situation with a substantial portion of the electorate clearly not happy  with where things are with respect to city management right now,”  Sanders says.  

He  says, in spite of caps on compensation packages and length of time on  the job for future city managers, there is plenty of qualified talent –  locally and farther afield - to occupy Sculley’s office. 

Salary, he  says, is only part of the equation.

“San  Antonio is a large, diverse city. It’s a plum job, and a plum job  independent of exactly what that salary number is,” says Sanders.  

Reinette  King, one of the architects of the Proposition A, B and C “Vote Yes”  campaign and one of Sculley’s most vocal critics, says she was surprised  by Sculley’s Thursday announcement and, while she respects Sculley’s  accomplishments, is wary of a possible “comeback tour” backroom deal  between Sculley and Nirenberg. 

“I also had heard a rumor last summer than Ron would let her go and then  he would ‘beg’ her to come back, so I’m concerned about a possibility  of this just being a sham,” says King.

Both  Sanders and King say City Council would do well to develop a search and  hiring process for the next city manager that is fully transparent to  the electorate, with maximum opportunities for voter input.  

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