Sheryl Sculley Releasing Greedy Bastards, a Book on Her Fight With San Antonio's Police Union

click to enlarge Former city manager Sheryl Sculley's tenure was marked by lengthy battles with the city's public safety unions. - Facebook / George H. Rodriguez‎
Facebook / George H. Rodriguez‎
Former city manager Sheryl Sculley's tenure was marked by lengthy battles with the city's public safety unions.
How about that timing?

A provocatively titled book by former San Antonio city manager Sheryl Sculley on her battles with the city's public safety unions will drop August 11, according to an Express-News report.

While the tome is unlikely to become a bestseller, the release date pretty much ensures it will become required bedtime reading for council members as they gear up for new contract talks with the city's police union.

It's also hard to miss the implication in the book's title, Greedy Bastards: One City’s Texas-Size Struggle to Avoid a Financial Crisis, which draws from a quote by Mike Helle, head of the local police union. In 2014, during the bareknuckle contract brawl between Sculley and his group, Helle told the Express-News the city manager was trying to paint his organization as a "bunch of greedy bastards trying to break the city of San Antonio.”

For those who need a little history, Sculley served as city manager from 2005 until early last year, and her tenure was marked by highly public fights with the police and fire unions as she sought to hold down contract costs. Lawsuits ensued, so did plenty of public name calling and a set of punitive ballot initiatives from the fire union.

A new round of collective bargaining talks with the police union, scheduled to start early next year, are poised to become even more contentious than those Sculley oversaw. 

Amid the George Floyd protests, local activists have pointed out that provisions in SA's police union contract make it damned near impossible for SAPD to terminate problem officers. Council and new City Manager Erik Walsh, a Sculley protege, will be under intense pressure not just to hold down costs this time but rein in protections that allowed two-thirds of fired cops to win their jobs back over the past decade.

“He meant to malign me,” Sculley told the E-N of Helle's "greedy bastards" comment. “As it turns out, that phrase reflects how far the union, and I would say other unions, would go to protect old business models even if it meant harm to the city as well as how dirty the fight would get.”

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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