City Manager Sheryl Sculley speaks about the Fiscal Year 2019 proposed annual operating and capital budget.
City Manager Sheryl Sculley speaks about the Fiscal Year 2019 operating and capital budget during a community meeting in August. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

City Manager Sheryl Sculley submitted a self-evaluation of her work to City Council this week, part of a more formal performance review process instituted last year. 

Sculley reviewed her 2018 performance in a 15-page document, starting by highlighting her “nearly 40 years of experience managing local government.” She wrote about her regular meetings with City leaders and staffers, diversity in City staff, and the City’s AAA bond rating from the three major bond rating agencies. She also pointed to her community involvement, the successful kickoff of the City’s Climate Action & Adaptation Plan, and the growth of leadership and professional development programs at the City during her tenure.

The self-evaluation is based on performance metrics established by City Council. As part of the process, each Council member will fill out a survey ranking her on those metrics.

Sculley’s 2018 base salary is $475,000, and she can earn up to a $100,000 bonus based on her evaluation results. Her compensation has been a source of controversy, figuring into a ballot proposition recently passed by voters that caps the salary of future city managers as well as limiting their tenure.

In January, a consultant is scheduled to issue a report on compensation for Sculley and three other Council-appointed employees with performance metrics. The report was commissioned amid concerns about a lack of written review standards for Sculley, but the new compensation rules approved by voters will not apply to her.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who is up for election in May along with Council members, praised Sculley’s work.

“Our city manager has done a great job maintaining our AAA bond rating, ensuring efficient city services and being a fiscal steward of taxpayer resources,” Nirenberg said in a statement. “It is one of the reasons that San Antonio continues to be the best-run big city in the country.”

Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) has been the most vocal critic of Sculley’s compensation. He was the lone council member to support the charter amendment capping the pay of future city managers and called for Sculley’s resignation after its passage.

“Very nice of Sheryl to provide her own glowing self-evaluation,” Brockhouse said Wednesday in a text message to the Rivard Report. “I’m sure the mayor is glad she saved him some time, but I believe that the City Council and the citizens of San Antonio deserve an unbiased, objective, and public evaluation of her performance and potential bonus. No back room decisions on pay and bonuses, especially after a very clear public vote that the pay and power of the city manager needs to be reined in.”

Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6)
Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

While Sculley did not address the two charter amendments that passed on Election Day – Propositions B and C – that bond rating agencies warned could affect San Antonio’s bond rating, she noted some of Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch’s explanations for giving the city an AAA bond rating. Reasons included good governance by an experienced team, strong financial practices, and “strong revenue flexibility and growth prospects, minimal revenue volatility and superior financial resilience.”

Brockhouse is expected to challenge Nirenberg in the upcoming municipal elections. Both men assumed office last June. Since then, Brockhouse has criticized the mayor for his “unilateral decision-making” and what he called the mayor’s “leadership by slogan” mentality, calling for a more community-based and data-driven approach.

Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang is a general assignment reporter at the San Antonio Report.