City Manager Erik Walsh shuffled leadership responsibilities within San Antonio’s Metropolitan Health District this week in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Assistant City Manager Colleen Bridger, who stepped in to lead the department after its director suddenly resigned in June, will continue to serve as interim director of Metro Health, but the day-to-day operations of the department will shift to Dr. Sandra Guerra.

Guerra, previously Metro Health’s assistant medical director, is now interim deputy public health director.

In her previous role, Guerra provided “leadership and consultation during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Walsh wrote in a memo Tuesday, informing City Council of the changes. He noted her 20 years of experience as a leader among physicians in large organizations.

“I continue to be thankful for all levels of leadership at the Metro Health Department in this critical time,” Walsh wrote.

Dawn Emerick stepped down as director of San Antonio’s health department less than six months after she started the job. Bridger, who served as director of the health department for nearly two years before becoming assistant city manager, has filled in despite plans to resign prior to Emerick leaving. Bridger still oversees the human services and parks and recreation departments.

Bridger’s last day was supposed to be July 17 as she was going to start her own consultancy firm.

The executive search firm the City hired to find Emerick last year is contractually obligated to conduct a free search for her replacement because she resigned within 180 days. The City has yet to formally launch its search. 

Along with the changes in Metro Health, Walsh noted several other staff appointments on Tuesday, including Emily McGinn as assistant to City Council, Luis Maltos as assistant director of the Public Works Department, and Justina Tate as assistant director of the Economic Development Department.

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