Art Hall prepares for his interview.
Art Hall prepares for his interview before City Council. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Interim Councilman Art Hall (D2) likely will take office Monday, instead of Jan. 20, so he can participate in interviews of city manager candidates.

Council will vote on a measure to formally install Hall into office prior to city manager interviews during a special meeting on Monday at 1 p.m. Mayor Ron Nirenberg directed staff to add the ordinance to the agenda on Friday.

“It is wholly unacceptable to me that the residents of District 2 might not be represented when this City Council makes its most important decisions: the selection of the City Manager,” Nirenberg said in statement. “Thank you to City Attorney Andy Segovia for this proposal to ensure District 2’s representation in the selection process.”

Hall could not be reached for comment.

As of now, Hall’s first day on the job is next Sunday, due to a technicality in the city charter as well as confusion among Council members on Thursday when they selected him with a 7-3 to vote. Public official appointments require eight votes to be effective immediately, according to city code (Section 1-15). For Monday’s vote to be effective, it will require eight votes, too.

According to the code: “All ordinances shall become effective upon the date stated in the ordinance; if no date is stated, then the ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after its passage.”

Some ordinances have effective dates, though many do not. Appointment ordinances do not.

“[The City Attorney’s Office] is not aware of any historical annotation that provides insight into the rationale for the 10-day delay for ordinances, or the requirement of eight votes for immediate effectiveness,” a City spokesperson said via text.

City attorneys crafted an ordinance that moves up the effective date to Monday, Jan. 14, Mayor Ron Nirenberg told reporters on Friday, to “rectify” a 10-day delay for representation for District 2.

If approved, the ordinance also would allow City staff to look into reviewing the date criteria for appointments.

Nirenberg said he was confident his colleagues would agree that District 2, which contains the historically neglected East Side, needs a voice during the city manager selection process.

The first round of city manager interviews likely will continue into the evening Tuesday. Two or three candidates will be selected for the second round Wednesday with the hopes a single finalist will emerge by Wednesday night.

Council members Roberto Treviño (D1), Greg Brockhouse (D6), and Rebecca Viagran (D3) voted against Hall because they supported other candidates, motivational speaker Jada Sullivan, they said.

The 10-day delay is just “an antiquated rule,” Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) said Friday. “There was some parliamentary confusion and all of that will be rectified.”

Council selected Hall after two rounds of interviews Wednesday and Thursday that narrowed the candidate field from 13 to three to one. Dereck Hillyer, a retired firefighter, received endorsements from several community leaders but did not make it to Council’s short list. Hillyer is expected to run for the District 2 seat in the May 4 municipal election.

Hall represented District 8 from 2003 to 2007 but moved to District 2 three years ago, he said. He did retain his North Side home. Hillyer’s supporters said they would challenge Hall’s residency and, therefore, legitimacy as the district’s representative.

Hall, who will serve out former Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw’s unexpired term, has committed to staying out of the May election. Shaw resigned to become an associate judge at the Bexar County Courthouse.

Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org