SAN ANTONIO – After 13 years at the head of San Antonio's city government, City Manager Sheryl Sculley is retiring at the end of February.
Speaking to the City Council from the podium to deliver her final report, Sculley thanked the city's residents for their "support and gratitude for the changes we've made to improve our city."
"To each one of those who said 'thanks,' and, I'm certain many more, I can proudly say today we did make a difference," Sculley said.
A polarizing figure in city government since she arrived from Phoenix in 2005, Sculley was praised for helping drive San Antonio forward and criticized for the amount of power she held and how she used it. Her contentious relationships with the police and fire unions over their contracts included lawsuits and plenty of bitter feelings.
In November, the firefighter-led Proposition B, which was widely seen as a referendum on Sculley, placed caps on future city managers' pay and tenures.
A few weeks after the election, Sculley announced her decision to retire, though she told KSAT she had been thinking about retirement for "a couple of years" and viewed the completion or advanced status of several large projects as a "window of opportunity" to announce her decision to step down.
Whatever hard feelings may have existed, praise and thanks were all that came down from the dais on Thursday.
"That's what you do. You make things happen," District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval told Sculley.
"I'm a huge fan, and I can't wait to see what you do next," said District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez.
Even references to disagreements were positive.
"You heard up here that some of us say we don't always agree, but that's the mark of a professional -- to tell it like it is, and I think that's exactly what you did," District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino said.
District 6 Councilman and mayoral candidate Greg Brockhouse, a vocal critic of Sculley who called on her to resign following the November election even sang her praises Thursday.
"One regret I do have is not including with you enough of your accomplishments, and I let sometimes politics get too far in it," Brockhouse said. "And I do not say this lightly that you are the finest city manager this city has ever had."
In her remarks, Sculley said professional city management matters and warned the city would be "ill-served to abandon the council-manager plan."
But whatever plans the city may have going forward, it will no longer be up to Sculley to get them done.
Erik Walsh, who served as deputy city manager under Sculley, takes the reins of the city on March 1 as the new city manager.