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Walsh On Cusp Of 'Career Achievement' As Lone Finalist For San Antonio City Manager

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Erik Walsh

It was during high school that Erik Walsh said being part of city government piqued his interest.

It was his freshman year at Central Catholic High School in San Antonio, and his English teacher pointed out a figure jogging down the street, past the school.

"Father O’Shaughnessy would say, ‘There goes the city manager,’ ” said Walsh about Lou Fox, who was the city manager at the time.

IF YOU GO WHAT: Public Symposium with Erik Walsh WHERE: Buena Vista Theater, UTSA's downtown campus WHEN: 6 p.m. Wedesday

Walsh said the conversation with O’Shaughnessy included the role and responsibilities of a city manager, and it wasn't long before he knew.

“A lot of people can point to a moment and time in their history, and that that was my moment. I’ve been interested in local government since then,” he said.

Walsh is the lone finalist for San Antonio city manager. Walsh is currently deputy city manager and said it would be a dream-come-true to be city manager of his hometown.

“It’s a career achievement. This is a great organization in a great city, and it’s a huge responsibility, and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

Walsh will meet at a public symposium 6 p.m. Wednesday at UTSA's downtown campus. City Council will then vote to confirm Walsh as city manager on Jan. 31.

Walsh began his career with the city as a budget analyst in the mid-1990s. He entered the city manager’s office as an assistant for City Manager Sheryl Sculley in 2006. He was promoted to one of her deputies five years later.

Walsh was one of eight applications interviewed out of a pool of 31 candidates. All eight are Walsh’s colleagues in the city manager’s office, including Assistant City Manager Maria Villagomez, who was the other semifinalist.

“We’ve all been supportive of each other; it was a rigorous process, and each one of us had to prepare,” he said. “But, at the end of the day, I think we’re a great team. … With the executive leadership in our departments and the dedicated employees we have, that’s one of the best-managed cities in this country.”

Voters approved Proposition B in November, which caps the pay and tenure of the city manager to about $312,000 per year and a term of eight years. The proposition also requires the council to select a city manager through a supermajority of eight votes. The San Antonio City Council, an 11-member body, normally requires six votes to approve an action.

Joey Palacios can be reached at joey@tpr.org or on Twitter @joeycules

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules