Sheryl Sculley, former city manager and steadfast LGBTQ ally, is moving to Austin

Sheryl Sculley (second from left) with officers of the Stonewall Democrats at their October 2006 meeting (Photo: Sam Sanchez)

Sheryl Sculley, who in November of 2018 announced she would retire after an 13-year tenure as San Antonio’s city manager, announced this week that she is moving to Austin.

The former city manager told the San Antonio Report she was moving to be closer to family and to teach a course in advance public management the University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Sculley’s departure from municipal government four years ago was prompted by a city charter amendment, approved by voters, that limits the pay and tenure of future city managers. At the time, she was the highest paid official in city government and there was backlash in some political circles regarding her remuneration.

Sculley was the highest ranking city official to ever reach out to the LGBTQ community when in 2006, shortly after being hired, she addressed a meeting of the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio.

During that Stonewall meeting, Sculley said she would establish community panels where citizens could discuss and devise ways to enhance the quality of life in the city. She said she wanted LGBTQ people to participate in all those panels, the first time such on open gesture was made to the community by a city official. “Change is difficult,” Sculley told the Stonewall audience at the time, “but we all can change to make a better city.”

The community can thank Sculley for having hired Police Chief William McManus, who helped improve the SAPD’s historically rocky relationship with San Antonio’s LGBTQ citizens by ending the entrapment of gay men in public parks by undercover officers, initiating LGBTQ sensitivity training at the police academy, meeting with gay bar owners to discuss crime reduction and appointing an LGBTQ liaison.

In 2008, Sculley worked with city attorneys and the city-council-appointed Affirmative Action Committee to amend the city’s anti-harassment and discrimination policy to include sexual orientation as a protected classification for city employees. Right wing attorney Robert J. Bozelli and Adam McManus, a local Christian talk show host from KSLR-AM, tried to smear Sculley for her actions. However, the policy remains intact.

Sheryl Sculley as Cornyation’s King Anchovy (Courtesy photo / Sheryl Sculley)

The city manager gained a bit of playful notoriety in 2009 when she was crowned King Anchovy for the annual Fiesta Cornyation wearing a red metallic jump suit, platform boots and a sequined blue cape. Later that year at a roast sponsored in her honor by the San Antonio League of Women Voters, attendees included not only scores of local politicos but drag queens, and LGBTQ activists.

Sheryl Sculley with then-Mayor Julian Castro and hairdresser Rene Roberts at a 2009 League of Women Voters roast in honor of Sculley. (Photo: Sam Sanchez)

Sculley unveiled a new budget in 2011 that included extending domestic partnership benefits to City of San Antonio, CPS and San Antonio Water System employees, including same-sex couples. The budget initiative was passed by the City Council in spite of the fact that extremist Christian groups tried to block it.

Equality Texas honored Sculley in 2012 with the Advocate Award which is given annually to “an outstanding public servant whose high ideals include a dedication to equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Texans.”

When the city council voted to approve the nondiscrimination ordinance in 2013, Sculley was among the city officials to applaud its passage.

Sculley’s support remained constant. In 2015, while commenting on the city’s score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, she said, “Ensuring a vibrant and diverse community and maximizing our residents’ well-being are city-wide goals. The City of San Antonio recognizes that these goals call for the inclusion of the LGBT population.”

Last year, Sculley published a book titled “Greedy Bastards” that according to Amazon, “tells the story of Sheryl and her new team’s uphill battle to turn around San Antonio city government. She takes you behind closed doors to share the hard changes she made and the strategies she used to create mutually beneficial solutions to the city’s biggest problems.”


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