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San Antonio’s Sculley announces retirement

November 29, 2018

San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley has announced her retirement, effective in 2019.

“I’ve wanted to retire for at least two years, but have stayed to see through a number of major city projects such as the 2017 bond program development and approval, the Alamo plan, our equity assessment program and the Frost Tower P3,” she wrote in a letter to community leaders distributed Thursday morning.

Sculley, 66, has been city manager since 2005, when she was recruited from Phoenix, where she had been assistant city manager for 16 years.

In her letter, Sculley said she will stay through a transition to a new city manager, but no later than June 30.

Critics saw the writing on the wall for Sculley after the November election, when voters overwhelmingly approved a proposition that sets a salary cap and tenure limit for future city managers. While the proposition doesn’t affect her, it was widely seen as a referendum of Sculley’s compensation, often a source of controversy. With a $475,000 base salary and up to $100,00 in performance-based bonus, she is the highest paid city manager in the nation.

She has worked for four mayors and oversees a department that has some 12,000 employees and a budget of about $2.7 billion.

During her tenure, she is credited with improving city finances and services; she has stewarded three massive bond projects, implemented the Pre-K 4 SA program that’s hailed as a model and brought a budgeting approach that has enabled the city to maintain a Triple-A bond rating, among numerous other accomplishments.

A news release about Sculley’s retirement notes a series of major achievements during her tenure, including: increasing financial reserves from 3 percent to 10 percent of the annual budget; completing more than $2 billion in infrastructure improvements with voter-approved bond issues; reducing the property tax rate four times; eliminating more than 1,600 civilian positions without layoffs; added more than 600 police and firefighter jobs; successfully balancing 13 city budgets.

Sculley praises her staff in her letter.

“I’m tremendously proud of everything we’ve accomplished,” she writes, “and with the city’s excellent and highly capable executive team and staff, I have great confidence that positive progress will continue in our city — our San Antonio.”

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