SA city manager finalist: 'Humbled, honored' over opportunity

Erik Walsh meets press for first time since being named proposed finalist

By David Ibanez - Web - Managing Editor, Garrett Brnger - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio Deputy City Manager Erik Walsh met reporters Thursday for the first time since he was announced as the proposed lone finalist for the city manager position.

Walsh said he was "humbled and honored" over being chosen and looks forward to meeting with various community groups over the next two weeks before the City Council votes Jan. 31 on whether he will succeed his boss, Sheryl Sculley, who announced in November that she will retire.

Walsh said if he is approved, he wants to be on the same page with Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the City Council.

"I want to assure everyone that I will act in the community's best interest as selected by the council, and I will act in accordance with the mayor and the City Council's policy directions," Walsh said. "With the support of the organization, I know that San Antonio will continue to be the best-managed city in the country. San Antonio is my home and I want it to be on top of everybody's list."

Walsh, a Central Catholic High School and Trinity University graduate, said that the agenda of the Texas Legislature, the implementation of the city's affordable housing business plan, a longterm funding policy for Haven for Hope and the dockless vehicle pilot program will be some of his priorities.

If Walsh succeeds Sculley, he said, being city manager would be "a great opportunity and career achievement" and that "results matter" in that position.

When asked how he would handle the impasse the city has with the fire union over a new contract, Walsh said, "At the end of the day, everybody just wants something that's fair for everybody."

Walsh said he is "not worried about salary," a reference to a new city ordinance that caps the city manager's salary.

The ordinance calls for the city manager's pay to be capped at 10 times as that of the city's lowest paid, full-time city employee, which means Walsh would be paid $312,000 for the current fiscal year. He would still get a bump in pay due to his base salary as deputy city manager of $256,733 for fiscal year 2018.

The ordinance would also limit the next city manager to eight years on the job. 

When asked about that stipulation, he said he was "excited about the opportunity. "I mean, eight years is a long time, and I'm eager to hopefully go through the process and make some results."

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