Sheryl Sculley is the City Manager of San Antonio, Texas, the chief executive officer of the municipal corporation of 12,000 employees, an annual operating and capital budget of $2.7 billion, assets of $24 billion, and a city population of 1.5 million residents. With more than 30 years of executive management experience, Sculley was recruited to lead the municipal corporation of the city of San Antonio in 2005. San Antonio is the nation’s seventh largest city.
The City of San Antonio has a council-manager form of government in which the Mayor and City Council serve as the Policy Board of Directors, and the City Manager runs the municipal corporation. The City Manager is neither a political nor partisan appointment, she is the CEO of the city government; city personnel are hired by and report to the City Manager.
The cities of San Antonio, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona are the nation’s two largest professionally managed cities with the council-manager form of government. Sculley has spent the past 25 years managing operations in each of these municipal corporations. Her entire career has been in managing municipal corporations.
Sculley was recruited more than a decade ago to San Antonio to overhaul an underperforming city organization. During her tenure, she has replaced the city’s executive staff with some of the nation’s best management talent; increased financial reserves from 3% to 10% of the annual budget; completed more than $2 billion in infrastructure improvements; reduced the property tax rate four times; streamlined city business systems and eliminated 1600 civilian positions; improved customer service; and elevated the professionalism of city management.
One of Sculley’s primary responsibilities is financial management of the City of San Antonio. She has successfully balanced 12 city budgets while elevating the financial standing of the city. The city’s general obligation (G.O.) bond rating by Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch rating services is AAA, a first for the City of San Antonio in 2008 under Sculley’s leadership. Of the top ten largest cities in the U.S., only San Antonio has a G.O. bond rating of AAA from all three major rating agencies. The AAA ratings have been reaffirmed for eight consecutive years.
In 2007, 2012, and 2017 and without tax increases, Sculley proposed the largest capital bond programs in the city’s history, together totaling $2 billion. San Antonio city voters overwhelmingly approved all three programs. To date, more than 300 infrastructure projects from the 2007 and 2012 programs have been completed on schedule and under budget. The 2017 program is underway.
In 2013, Sculley took on the challenge of changing the excessive collective bargaining agreements with the police and fire unions that had been in place for 25 years. After three years of contentious negotiations and litigation with the police union, the City mediated a settlement saving taxpayers $88 million over the five year term of the contract. The fire union contract expired in 2014, and the union has refused to negotiate; that union’s contract is in year three of a ten-year evergreen contract provision. The City has appealed to the Texas Supreme Court as to the constitutionality of the ten-year evergreen provision.
During Sculley’s tenure, a P3 (Public-Private Partnership) agreement for a complicated development transaction was accomplished with San Antonio-based Frost Bank, Weston Urban Development Company and the City of San Antonio. The result is a consolidated administrative office tower for the City, the addition of 265 housing units in the central business district, the construction of the first class A office tower in downtown San Antonio since 1989, and the retention of one of San Antonio’s largest and oldest employers in downtown.
Prior to joining the City of San Antonio, Sculley served as Assistant City Manager of the City of Phoenix for 16 years. In the number two administrative position in that city of 1.6 million residents, Sculley was responsible for the day to day operations of city government and earned the reputation as a results-focused “go-to” manager.
While in Phoenix, Sculley’s accomplishments included numerous economic development projects and the development of more than two million square feet of City-owned office space, museums, theatres, a convention hotel, a bioscience laboratory, a convention center, and a downtown university campus. Two of her more notable successes included recruiting the Translational Genomics Research Institute to Arizona and convincing the Arizona Legislature to invest $300 million in the downtown Phoenix Convention Center.
Previous to her Phoenix experience, Sculley was City Manager of Kalamazoo, Michigan, working for that municipal corporation for 15 years. As City Manager, she successfully implemented the consolidation of police and fire services, reducing employment by 50% while tripling public safety service coverage for the community. In one of the toughest labor relations environments in the country, Sculley successfully developed and maintained a constructive labor-management relationship with the city’s unions.
Throughout her career, Sculley has provided leadership on nonprofit boards of directors. She serves on the San Antonio United Way Board of Directors and chaired the 2013 United Way Campaign raising $52.5 million. Sculley also served as a member of the United Way boards and charitable campaigns in Phoenix and Kalamazoo.
Sculley served on the International City Management Association (ICMA) Board of Directors from 2002-2005 and was president of the Arizona and Michigan City Management Associations. In 2009, ICMA, an 8,000 member professional organization, recognized her with the Career Excellence in City Management Award.
Sculley is a Fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration. She is also an adjunct professor with the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and for three years, Sculley taught a graduate class in urban studies and actively mentored next generation public sector leaders. She is a frequent lecturer at the university level and at conferences.
Sculley earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Western Michigan University. She also completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Sculley is married to Michael Sculley; they have two adult children, a daughter who graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and a married son who graduated from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. Sculley is an avid runner, having completed nine marathons, including the Boston Marathons in 2000 and 2001.