City Manager Sheryl Sculley speaks as Tina Brown looks on. Photo by Scott Ball.

Mayor Ivy Taylor said City Manager Sheryl Sculley’s performance as the city’s senior executive continues to be excellent and that the salary increases in her proposed amended contract are in line with raises she received under previous administrations and with raises given other members of the city’s executive management team.

Mayor Taylor , who spoke in in a Wednesday morning interview, said eliminating an automatic retention payment and replacing it with an annual performance bonus is a significant improvement in the contract. The retention payment in 2015 was $65,000. The performance bonus will be a maximum $100,000, Mayor Taylor said.

“The amount of the raise its consistent with what we’ve given Sheryl for at least the last three years, and what we have given all the executives in the city,” Mayor Taylor said.  “I feel strongly about the bonus we have negotiated. Until now we had retention pay that was not tied to any metrics, which I find very hard to defend. I feel more comfortable standing up in front of the public and saying there are metrics we will tie to the bonus.”

Mayor Taylor said she expects to finalize the performance bonus goals that City Council will set for Sculley by March 15.

City Council will meet in executive session today to discuss the amended three-year employment contract for Sculley that includes a base salary increase of 18.75% over three years.

(Correction: The original version of this story mistakenly reported the raise over three years equaling 17.68%.)

Mayor Taylor circulated the revised contract to City Council members for review late Tuesday afternoon. It’s expected to pass with a solid majority when it comes up for a vote in open session at Thursday’s City Council meeting. The amended contract will be Sculley’s fifth since arriving here from Phoenix during the administration of Mayor Phil Hardberger in 2005.

Increases to her current base salary would be:

  •  $400,000 to $425,000 in 2016, a 6.25% increase.
  •  $425,000 to $450,000 in 2017, a 5.88% increase.
  •  $450,000 to $475,000 in 2018, a 5.55% increase.

The amended contract reduces severance pay form 21 to 12 months in the event Council decide to involuntarily terminate Sculley for any reason.

The amendment provides her with a fair and reasonable pay increase as a result of her excellent performance, while establishing metrics against which the City Council will measure her future performance,” Mayor Taylor wrote in an email to City Council members on Tuesday. “The amendment is on Thursday’s agenda and I’ve discussed (it) with each of you…”

Based on previous council discussions, Mayor Taylor is likely to have at least nine Council members join her in supporting the amended contract terms. Perhaps two Council members, Cris Medina and Shirley Gonzales, will raise concerns over the suspended collective bargaining talks with the police union after nearly two years of on-again, off-again negotiations.

Police union officials walked away from the table rather than accept the City’s last contract offer in 2015, which included a 15.75% base pay increase, including a 3% signing bonus, over the life a four-year contract. That’s significantly less than Sculley will receive in her amended contract.

Unlike union members, the city manager and other city executives serve at will.

Union negotiators ultimately settle for less merit pay in return for winning every officer, even those being disciplined or facing serious misconduct charges, the same guaranteed annual pay increase as the high-performing members of the department. Union members also receive much richer health care coverage and a higher percentage of their salaries contributed to their pension funds than civilian employees.

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*Top image: Women in the World CEO Tina Brown (left) introduces City Manager Sheryl Sculley. Photo by Scott Ball. 

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Robert Rivard

Robert Rivard

Robert Rivard is editor and publisher of the San Antonio Report.