A look back at why Sheryl Sculley earned both praise and criticism during tenure

    (SBG San Antonio)

    Mayors and city council members come and go, but for 13 years Sheryl Sculley has been the constant, driving force at city hall. San Antonio's form of government gives the city manager a lot of power which Sculley wielded effectively.

    The result was a higher profile, and a higher salary, than most city managers.

    Sheryl Sculley was hired in 2005, recruited by then-mayor Phil Hardberger from Phoenix where she was assistant city manager. Hardberger wanted an outsider to shake city government out of its small-town doldrums.

    Sculley streamlined city departments and was credited with saving $47-million in her first three years.

    Her decisions helped make San Antonio the only big city in America to earn a AAA bond rating, which made it possible to borrow money at low interest rates.

    That led to an unprecedented ten-year building spree culminating with an $850-million, voter approved, city bond.

    Sculley brought in Police Chief William McManus and Fire Chief Charles Hood from other cities.

    She directed millions of bond dollars to improve streets and drainage to keep pace with the city's booming population.

    However, Sculley faced criticism for her eye-popping salary. Her generous contract was extended five times by the council and included large salary increases and performance bonuses.

    Her pay was a constant source of resentment in a town where the median household income lags below $50-thousand a year.

    Sculley’s raise in 2011 was such a sore subject, she refused to discuss it publicly. Until News 4 Trouble Shooter Jaie Avila caught up to Sculley outside city hall and asked her why she was worth the money.

    “Well, the city council approved the contract, actually more than two years ago, two and a half years ago, and all of the city employees received raises in 2011, so I'm entitled to mine as well," Sculley responded.

    Then there was Sculley's ugly battle with the police and fire fighter unions. She sued to overturn the “evergreen clause” that froze pay and benefits at current levels, but lost.

    The fire union then made Sculley the focal point of their ad campaign to pass charter amendments, with voters this month approving new limits on how much future city managers can be paid.

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