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Erik Walsh, the candidate who survived council's city manager selection process, will soon meet the public.
By moving Erik Walsh forward as the candidate most likely to become San Antonio's next city manager, council yesterday showed its comfort with staying the course set by outgoing manager Sheryl Sculley.
After all, Walsh is a native San Antonian, a 24-year city employee and a longtime Sculley lieutenant. But, observers point out, staying the course is unlikely to sit well with voters who used the November ballot box to spell out their dissatisfaction with the departing city manager.
Remember the fire union's ballot initiatives
and Sculley's subsequent retirement announcement? Sure you do.
"This kind of pick suggests continuity in substance and direction, if not in style," Woody Sanders, a professor of public policy at the University of Texas at San Antonio, said of Walsh's selection.
Sanders declined specific comment on Walsh's record, since he was a student of Sanders' while at Trinity University. But Walsh's record may be peripheral as he faces voters in a series of public forums leading up to council's January 31 vote on his appointment.
Instead of checking his bonafides, many will want to know what makes him different from Sculley — and why council didn't heed their call for change.
Sure, many who voted in November to limit the salaries and tenures of future city managers did so solely on the basis of Sculley's hefty $475,000-a-year paycheck — and comparably hefty bonuses. But public ire over her power and perceived disregard for public input are also well documented
In other words, the referendum vote wasn't just about the paycheck but the substance and direction that Sanders mentioned. As the Current
has pointed out before
, the status quo was on the ballot and lost.
Stay tuned for those public meetings, folks. Fireworks may ensue.
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