By Gilbert Garcia
"We need a City Manager who's here for the long haul. Are you here for the long haul?"
That's what Council Member Lourdes Galvan asked Sheryl Sculley during the Council's marathon session yesterday, and it's so rare for Sculley to be confronted -- even good-naturedly -- by a local official, Galvan's directness felt a bit stunning. Sculley smiled and nodded her head in the affirmative, but surely it's a collective concern about her commitment to SA that pushed Phil Hardberger to fast-track a lucrative new three-year contract for Sculley, which passed easily.
Most citizen comments were glowing, including recommendations from mayoral hopeful Julian Castro -- who said Sculley "has done a fantastic job" of restoring public confidence and getting the city on the "right trajectory" -- and former Council Member Patti Radle, who expressed her discomfort with the high salaries that government officials often command, but added that Sculley was "a good person" who's been attentive to the needs of underprivileged people on the West Side.
When Sculley came in for criticism, it was generally of the crackpot variety. Council irritant Jack Finger started out by blasting Sculley's arrogance, but inexplicably illustrated his point with a critique of Sculley's willingness to give gays and lesbians equal employment opportunities.
As for the Council, they gushed without shame, repeatedly calling Sculley the best City Manager in the United States, when they weren't calling her the best City Manager in San Antonio history.
It was left to Justin Rodriguez to offer a splash of cold reality. While praising Sculley's performance, he complained that the Council had not been able to see the contract document until Wednesday night, and fretted that a severance provision in the contract left the City unprotected in the "worst-case scenario" of a sudden Sculley departure. He agreed to support the will of the Council, but he clearly wasn't happy about it.