San Antonio City Manager will have ‘conversation’ with city attorney after council members’ closed-door grievance airing

City Manager Erik Walsh said he has “complete confidence” in City Attorney Andy Segovia, doesn’t view discussion as discipline

San Antonio City Council Members Melissa Cabello Havrda (D6), Marina Alderete Gavito (D7), Jalen McKee-Rodriguez (D2), Teri Castillo (D5), and Marc Whyte (D10) hold a news conference regarding the suitability of City Attorney Andy Segovia. (Copyright 2024 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

San Antonio – Less than a week after nearly half the San Antonio City Council called for a meeting to discuss the “fitness” of the city attorney, they got a chance to air their grievances behind closed doors.

City council members went straight from opening the Wednesday afternoon meeting into a close to two-and-a-half-hour, non-public “executive session.” City Attorney Andy Segovia, the focus of their discussion, would typically be on hand at council meetings to offer legal advice. However, a city spokesman said Segovia skipped this meeting because he did not want his presence to impact what council members shared.

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It’s unclear exactly what was said, as discussions during executive sessions are meant to be confidential, but council members could be seen going in and out of the conference room where it was held.

The full extent of their movements was unclear, though, as city communications staff repeatedly prohibited KSAT and other media from standing in the adjoining city hall lobby, despite numerous city and council staff members being in the same area. Even within the public meeting room, city communications staff attempted to force KSAT to move out of the line of sight to the conference room door.

The drama spilled out afterward in a pair of impromptu news conferences.

First, the same five council members who had demanded the meeting appeared briefly in front of City Hall. It was the same spot where they had first aired their issues with Segovia on May 9.

Flanked by Marina Alderete Gavito (D7), Jalen McKee-Rodriguez (D2), Teri Castillo (D5), and Marc Whyte (D10), Melissa Cabello Havrda (D6) spoke for the group, which she has taken to calling the “Bloc of Five.”

“All right. So thank you guys for talking with us. This is the beginning of a process. We had a great discussion with the city manager about accountability and transparency. But there’s something I want to make very clear. These people behind me - our Bloc of Five - our goal has been, and is now, and always has been to make sure that this government is working for the people of San Antonio. Our goal will continue. We’re looking for transparency. We’re looking for accountability. And we’re going to continue this process with the city - the city manager and his office.”

Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda (D6)

McKee-Rodriguez confirmed they had gotten the discussion they were looking for before the group headed silently back inside.

However, they joined most of the other council members, along with Mayor Ron Nirenberg and City Manager Erik Walsh, in a second news conference.

Walsh, who is the only person with the power to fire Segovia, said he had “complete confidence” in him and the City Attorney’s Office. However, he said he would have a conversation with Segovia.

“Well, it’s a conversation about some of the concerns or issues that were raised. I’m not seeing that as discipline. But I do think that there’s some follow-up things that needs to happen in order to address some of the issues that we’re seeing,” Walsh said.


The “Bloc of Five’s” May 9 announcement came the day after they said Segovia blocked their request for an executive session discussion on the stalled fire contract talks.

The city and San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association’s negotiating teams are still miles apart after eight bargaining sessions, and the unresolved contract is an enormous question mark over the upcoming budget talks. According to city staff’s calculations, the city faces a budget deficit of somewhere between $5 million and $50 million, depending on where a deal shakes out.

The group said they were fine with discussing the negotiations in public but had been previously told by Segovia that any such talks would have to be held in executive session.

The council members said it was just the latest issue in their uneasy relationship with Segovia, who has held the city’s top legal job since 2016.

“What prompted this memo is a consensus amongst many of us that there is a lack of trust in the city attorney to provide us guidance and feedback that is not tainted, and that we are being given inaccurate, untimely or otherwise incomplete information,” McKee-Rodriguez said.

Following the group’s announcement, Segovia fired off a statement that all but accused council members of leaking information on the fire contract from executive sessions.

As City Attorney, I have an ethical duty to maintain the confidentiality of our executive sessions. Based on information that was relayed to me, I have no confidence that what is said there with respect to the collective bargaining agreement – the City’s second largest contract – will remain confidential.

Andy Segovia, San Antonio City Attorney

Segovia did not specify whom he suspected of leaking information or what evidence he had. KSAT has twice requested an interview with Segovia to discuss his statement, but city communications staff have not yet made him available.

Walsh also refused to answer questions Wednesday about the supposed leaks.

KSAT heard from four members of the “Bloc of Five” earlier this week, all of whom denied leaking information on the fire contract.

The fifth member, McKee-Rodriguez, posted the same night on X, formerly Twitter, accusing Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8) of being a frequent source of leaks.

Pelaez denied McKee-Rodriguez’s allegation when KSAT asked about it on Wednesday.

“What happens in executive session is like Las Vegas. If it happens in executive session, it has to stay in executive session” Pelaez said. “I’m an attorney. I know how important the preservation of confidentiality is with our attorneys, right?”

Pelaez and Councilman John Courage (D9) were the only council members not to attend the post-meeting news conference. Both men are running for mayor in 2025 and have previously spoken against Segovia’s criticism.

Pelaez said he had been making a phone call about a family issue. Courage texted later Wednesday night saying he “hadn’t heard our attendance was required” and that he’d had an understanding of what Walsh planned to say.

The “Block of Five’s” original request for a discussion on the fire contract will be fulfilled on Thursday morning, though it will be a public briefing rather than an executive session.

About the Author

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

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