Sculley nemesis: 'Christmas came early this year'

Police union president ready to usher in new era of city leadership

By Dillon Collier - Investigative Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio Police Officers Association President Mike Helle did not mince words -- or images, for that matter -- reacting Thursday to the impending departure of San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley.

RELATED: San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley announces retirement

"Christmas came early this year for us. I can tell you my rank and file is pretty ecstatic about it, given that she's been a pretty pretentious person," said Helle.

A small skeleton with a cutout picture of Sculley's face taped to its skull was displayed behind Helle's desk as he talked about his longtime nemesis, who announced Thursday morning that she would be stepping down after 13 years with the city.

Asked to describe why his relationship with Sculley was so divisive for so long, Helle said, "She had an unrealistic vision of what public safety should be, and should be held at."

Helle went on to describe Sculley as a numbers person who lacked a human element and more closely resembled a cyborg.

Sculley did not respond to a request for comment following Helle's remarks. Instead, the city released a 5 1/2-minute-long, on-camera interview with Sculley on Thursday afternoon that was conducted by city staff, during which she heaped praise on her deputy city managers and spoke at length about what she had accomplished during her tenure.

The public dispute between Sculley and Helle was perhaps never more on display than during a protracted, years-long battle over the future of health care for the city's police officers.

The contract negotiations, specifically whether an evergreen clause could constitutionally keep the deal in place for up to two years, ended up landing both sides in court.

Helle said the bad blood has not subsided, more than two years after both sides agreed to a new contract.

"That's really amazing that a manager could create that much hostility toward your rank and file," said Helle.

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