UPDATE: Sculley announced made her announcement Thursday morning, during which McManus announced plans to unveil a new strategy to deal with the city’s homelessness problem. Click here to read our coverage.
Less than one year after he stepped down as San Antonio’s police chief, William McManus is coming back to the job, City Hall sources confirmed Wednesday afternoon. McManus, a 40-year veteran law enforcement officer, held the post for 8 1/2 years before leaving to become the senior security executive at CPS Energy.
City Manager Sheryl Sculley is expected to announce her appointment at City Hall Thursday at 9 a.m. City Council does not meet this week, so McManus’ hiring will be on the agenda for the Thursday, Oct. 1 meeting. McManus’ planned return to his former position was first reported by the Express-News Wednesday afternoon.
His rehiring comes after a national search for his successor, a search that had been narrowed to four, then three, candidates, including Acting Police Chief Anthony Treviño. One of the three outside candidates who made Sculley’s short list was Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, who sources say was the highest ranking of the candidates by the search committees who interviewed the four finalists. Acevedo, however, was given a retention package by the City of Austin and dropped out of the race.
Prior to Acevedo’s withdrawal, McManus had communicated his interest in returning, City Hall sources said, sometime after CPS Energy CEO and President Doyle Beneby Jr. had announced his own plans to leave the energy utility at the end of September. McManus was well regarded in his new job, but people who know him said he missed police work and had second thoughts about ending his career in law enforcement.
“He wasn’t exactly the Maytag repair man waiting for the phone to ring, but life at CPS is a lot less exciting than it is at SAPD,” one utility executive said. “Security here is mostly preventative management.”
When Acevedo dropped out, City Hall sources said, and no clear favorite emerged from the remaining three candidates, a rehiring of McManus gained momentum and led to Sculley’s decision made over the weekend.
McManus was arguably the most effective and highly regarded police chief in contemporary times, in the community, at City Hall, and inside the department. His return is expected to be welcomed, although the continuing City-police union collective bargaining talks, now in their 18th month, still cast a pall on the mood at City Hall.
“He’s considered the city manager’s best hire since she started in the job a decade ago,” one City Hall observer said. “He’s a known quantity and a proven leader. Maybe this is what was needed to get past the contract standoff and all the bad feelings.”
Treviño is expected to continue in a senior executive position within the department, sources said.
CORRECTION: City Council will vote on McManus’ confirmation on Oct. 1, not Sept. 30 as previously stated.
*Top image: SAPD Chief McManus in his office at the San Antonio Public Safety Headquarters. Photo by Iris Dimmick.