City Manager Sheryl Sculley Leaves Potential $100K Bonus on the Table

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Scott Ball / Rivard Report

City Manager Sheryl Sculley was awarded $75,000 for her 2017 performance.

San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley declined to accept a performance bonus for her work in 2018, she said Monday in an email to the Rivard Report.

Sculley, who announced her retirement last month after 13 years as the City’s top executive, was eligible for a bonus of up to $100,000 for her work in 2018 on top of her $475,000 salary and other benefits for the year.

“Although the Council previously developed and approved the criteria for awarding 2018 performance pay and much has been accomplished this year, I had already communicated to the Mayor that I will forego any performance pay for 2018,” Sculley wrote. “When I announced my retirement, I agreed to stay to ensure an orderly transition to the new city manager.”

Mayor Ron Nirenberg praised Sculley’s performance in a separate email on Monday.

“Sheryl Sculley has been a top-notch city manager with a public service mindset,” Nirenberg wrote. “Today is no different. We are grateful for her service to the people of San Antonio.”

Her tenure and compensation has long been the topic of controversy, most recently led by the firefighters union and Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6). On Nov. 6, voters overwhelmingly approved a union-backed city charter amendment that limits future city manager tenure and compensation. On the Council, Brockhouse was the sole supporter of that and two other charter changes on the ballot. He called for her resignation days after two of the three changes were approved.

“That’s the right decision,” Brockhouse told the Rivard Report when informed of Sculley’s email. “The public spoke loud and clear with that vote. … I have to give thanks [to her] for listening to the will of the people.”

City Council is slated to discuss her performance review and bonus this Wednesday during a closed executive session, where such discussions traditionally take place. Surveys regarding her performance were due Nov. 30 from each Council member. That survey was put in place as a temporary way to establish metrics until those by a third-party firm are created next year. That review process will proceed, Nirenberg said.

“The city manager is entitled to an annual, professional performance evaluation, and it is the council’s responsibility to provide it,” he said.

Brockhouse, who was elected to represent Council District 6 in 2017 and will likely run for mayor next year, called for more transparency this year before she was awarded $75,000 for her 2017 performance and continued that call on Monday with a news release sent earlier Monday afternoon.

“As a reminder, no decisions or action can be taken in executive session, so the only place to award a bonus is in a public forum. Last year I did not support a bonus and I will not be supporting one this year,” Brockhouse wrote. “If a bonus is awarded, the City Manager should consider the example set by SAWS CEO Robert Puente’s refusal to accept bonus compensation in light of intense public backlash.”

Puente was offered a $96,500 bonus for his work in 2017, but he turned it down in March.

Many City leaders credit Sculley with professionalizing the city’s government while bolstering economic and infrastructure development. During her tenure she’s overseen major increases in bond programs and projects and elevated San Antonio’s bond rating to AAA, making it the only city of at least 1 million people to achieve and maintain that rating from all three major bond rating agencies.

Her last day with the City of San Antonio will be no later than June 30. Nirenberg has said he will be working with his Council colleagues on a process to select a new city manager and that there are several strong internal candidates.

“I know Sheryl Sculley to be a conscientious professional,” Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8) said. “That she waived her much deserved pay is evidence that she cares about San Antonio and doesn’t want there to be any distractions as we undertake the public process of transitioning from Sheryl’s tenure to the beginning of our next manager’s leadership.”

Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5), who has not always supported Sculley’s bonuses or pay increases, said she tries to be “very thorough about [Sculley’s] performance year to year.”

“The City has been able to maintain its bond rating and the Citizens are happy with services,” Gonzales said, citing an independent survey released last week.

18 thoughts on “City Manager Sheryl Sculley Leaves Potential $100K Bonus on the Table

      • No elected officials (councilman and others) get bonuses anywhere in the country. Certainly contract employees and a City Manager, aka, CEO of the City should be eligible for a bonus for the right performance measurements for running a $3 billion operation. It is no different than the Pres/CEO of CPS, SAWS or a private energy/water company. As for the Union President, taxpayers do help fund indirectly a Union President’s compensation. We all pay taxes that supports the cost of employing fire fighters and that cost includes union dues which funds the union and any bonuses, perks like vehicles, cell phones, lunches, dinner, other members, etc.

  1. After leading the City of San Antonio on at least two expensive, unnecessary and unsuccessful lawsuits against the firefighters union, she deserves ZIP!

      • I am not a pawn of the union, but I do agree with Pancho Valdez. The lawsuits were expensive and unnecessary. But I thought the union was going to begin bargaining when they were no longer being sued. So much for that promise.

  2. If the evaluation says she earned it then she should take it! That was the agreement she was working under and the city should live up to the agreement! She has done an outstanding job for many years!

    • I agree with this 100%. The fire union and brockhouse just screwed the city for the foreseeable future. News flash for the jealous San Antonians who voted for prop A…Sculley was UNDER PAID you broke morons.

  3. Classy lady in an increasingly unprofessional environment. And now we should consider giving the politicians more financial and planning responsibilities? I don’t think so.

  4. Sheryl Sculley will be sorely missed. Be careful what you wish for. You won’t know her total value to the citizens of San Antonio until she is gone. And may I remind everyone of the old adage, “better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t”. I wish her a peaceful and happy retirement.

  5. What about her Retention Bonus(es) (that she has been getting over the years) and the possibility she will get a Golden Parachute? When will you do a story on that ? Her contracts are all posted on http://www.SAMBA911.org Read them. Makes me question Hardberger’s skill at the ‘art of the deal.’ A big Catch-22.

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