San Antonio – The San Antonio City Council welcomed Mike Gallagher back to the dais Thursday, with a unanimous 10-0 vote appointing him as the temporary replacement for District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry.
The retired U.S. Air Force officer was immediately sworn into the same position he previously filled from January 2014 to June 2017. He will represent the North Side council district again until either Perry returns or his term expires in early June 2023.
Perry took a temporary leave of absence on Nov. 14 in the wake of his self-confessed role in a Nov. 6 hit-and-run crash.
Gallagher wrote in his application that he wants to ensure “the District 10 City Council Office and our district continue to operate uninterrupted by Councilman Perry’s recent legal and health issues.”
He told media after the meeting that he had talked with Perry on Tuesday and he “absolutely” planned to lean on Perry for possible help.
“I think it’s very, very important that if we’re going to have continuity, we have to hear from what Councilman Perry has to say on these issues. And I will take them into consideration,” Gallagher said.
***BREAKING***— Garrett Brnger (@BrngerReports) December 1, 2022
SA City Council votes 10-0 to appoint former D10 Councilman Mike Gallagher as the temp replacement for @district10perry while he's on his leave of absence. Perry has NOT resigned. So Gallagher will serve until he comes back OR the term ends in June '23@ksatnews pic.twitter.com/MRznBXW9Tj
City council had considered 17 applicants on Wednesday before narrowing the list down to three candidates to be interviewed Thursday morning: Gallagher, Joe Garcia, and Pauline Rubio, all of whom had some kind of government experience.
Garcia is a retired, longtime employee of AT&T and previously served on the VIA Metropolitan Transit Board of Trustees and as a city council member in Victoria.
Rubio is an adjunct professor at Palto Alto College and worked in the past for the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce from and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She also worked for former U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez as a district representative and executive assistant.
A familiar face
Council members quizzed the three candidates individually Thursday morning on their plans and priorities before debating behind closed doors for about 35 minutes.
Gallagher said his top priorities were supporting the police and fire departments, infrastructure, and doing a better job of supporting code enforcement.
Like the other candidates, Gallagher stressed he did not plan to run for the seat in the May 2023 election.
“I’d just like to reiterate, we just hope our councilman, Clayton Perry, has a rehab that’s successful and that he gets back on the job as soon as possible,” Gallagher said.
In explaining her decision to pick Gallagher, Councilwoman Ana Sandoval (D7), said she was looking to ensure as much of a seamless transition as possible for District 10 residents.
“I wanted to know which candidate seemed to be most familiar with the work, the current work of the council office, or who could come up to speed, you know, the fastest,” she said.
The role is not unfamiliar for Gallagher, who preceded Perry as the council member for the North Side council district.
Gallagher was originally appointed in January 2014 to fill the vacancy left by Carlton Soules, who resigned to run for Bexar County Judge. He was the only one to file for a special election in May 2014, prompting council to cancel the election.
Gallagher won a full term in May 2015 but decided not to run for a second, full term, leaving office in June 2017 when Perry took office.
Gallagher is currently the president of both the Northern Hills Homeowners Association and the Northeast Neighborhood Alliance. He told media that he hoped to be able to stay in those roles.
He does not plan to accept a council member’s salary while in his temporary role, though.
“I’m the one that pushed the salary in the first place, that got the charter amendment to have a salary for council members. It would really be a conflict of interest if I were to take that,” he said.
Perry has also said he planned to decline his salary while he he was on his leave, and a District 10 spokeswoman told KSAT on Thursday that Perry had filed the paperwork.
Perry faces a Class B misdemeanor charge for failure to stop and provide information for a hit-and-run crash on Nov. 6, just a half-mile from his home. San Antonio Police have also said they plan to file a DWI charge for prosecutors to review.
The city council members passed a vote of “no-confidence” against Perry on Nov. 14. They stopped short of asking him to resign, though, and allowed him to take a temporary leave of absence, which he referred to as a “sabbatical.”
Perry had said he would use the time away from council to take “the appropriate measures as determined by medical professionals to ensure this will never, never happen again. I commit wholeheartedly to whatever course of action or rehabilitation they recommend.”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story indicated that SAPD had filed a DWI charge against Councilman Perry. However, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Joe Gonzales said Dec. 1 that the office had not yet received the case. We regret the error.