New City of San Antonio City Manager is under the pressure of high expectations. Erik Walsh was the 13-year understudy of former City Manager Sheryl Sculley. The new manager reports directly to the City Council. The City Council was inept in their relationship with the former City Manager who refused to have annual evaluations and often ran over the Councilmembers in her duties. This was pointed out by City Councilman Greg Brockhouse as he demanded for the city manager to be held accountable for her work.
Now Walsh, has lost his Deputy, Peter Zanoni, to Corpus Christi. The Fair Contracting Coalition founder, TC Calvert invited Erik Walsh to meet with his diverse network of chambers and business leaders. Calvert asked the manager publicly to ensure an African American is hired to be on his staff as a manager, as there is a long-time void of hiring qualified Black leaders on City Staff.
The San Antonio Observer Chairman of the Editorial Board and past Chairman of the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce, Christopher Herring asked the City Manager to enable the African American Chamber and Asian American chamber past chairs to be placed on the executive board of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation with the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Herring said, "tax payer dollars in excess of $600,000 annually are used to discriminate against business people that the foundation chooses to treat inferior. The SAEDF also has not hired us to work on the paid staff. If the City Council had visible diversity metrics and told the new manager the staff representation should be made up of the community that would be a start. Additionally it seems that the SAEDF chooses to back three chambers with our tax money, and make choices to continue a form of apartheid treatment of two race/ethnic chambers who have requested to sit at the decision table for over a decade. How does economic development of our poorest communities happen when they don't want Black and Asian representation? This is why the Eastside, and Westside have lagged behind."
The City Manager met with the FCC for over 2 hours to discuss issues critical to the minority business community and District 2 issues in specific where the previous manager was overreaching. Walsh being a hometown success story has a legacy to be mindful of and can't be polarized in the same way the former manager operated. The FCC consensus was to give him time, but to be mindful that time must show the support he has articulated. The historic meeting was held at the FCC headquarters at the Atlas Body Shop on the Eastside. Walsh accepted the meeting request and attended which is something his predecessor would never do. Maybe this is the start of a beautiful relationship...