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San Antonio City Council in revolt; nearly half of members want to consider expelling city attorney

San Antonio — The day after they said the city attorney partially blocked their request for a special meeting, five San Antonio City Council members are calling for another meeting — this time to discuss his suitability for the job.

Councilmembers Melissa Cabello Havrda (D6), Marina Alderete Gavito (D7), Jalen McKee-Rodriguez (D2), Teri Castillo (D5) and Marc Whyte (D10) all signed the memo to City Manager Erik Walsh. The file was handed over to the town hall at the end of the morning.

“Despite clear and repeated requests from the City Council on key issues, it has become apparent that the City Attorney has yet to act,” the group wrote. “Furthermore, there have been significant inconsistencies and a clear lack of transparency in its legal opinions, leading to delays and unpredictability that affect the Council’s ability to develop timely and well-informed plans and decisions.”

As City Attorney, Segovia serves as the primary legal advisor to the City Council, City Manager and all City departments. He joined the city in 2016 after a 26-year career with General Motors.

The group said it has lost confidence in Segovia’s abilities and believes that “considering a change in leadership within the City Attorney’s Office is necessary to ensure that the interests of the municipality and the residents of San Antonio are properly represented and protected.

They requested that the meeting be held on May 15 or the earliest alternative date.

The same group had submitted a memo Wednesday evening to hold a closed-door discussion on stalled contract negotiations with the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association.

Under the city charter, three council members have the power to force a special meeting. However, Cabello Havrda told KSAT that Segovia told the group it would not respond to the request for an executive meeting and that “maybe we were going to have a public debate.”

The city councilor, who is chair of the public safety committee, said she doesn’t mind having a public debate. Cabello Havrda previously told KSAT that Segovia said such a discussion should take place behind closed doors.

However, the problem was that Segovia would not follow the wishes of the council members.

“That was kind of the final straw for us,” Cabello Havrda said.

Asked about previous issues, Cabello Havrda pointed to advice she said Segovia gave council members last year about not being able to spay or neuter all animals taken in by Animal Care Services . However, she said the city attorney said it was possible this year.

“So it’s inconsistent. And we just had a lot of inconsistent legal advice,” Cabello Havrda said. “And, you know, I’m a lawyer. If I give bad advice to my client or if I change my advice, I will have to tell them about it. You cannot do this unilaterally.

KSAT caught up with Segovia shortly before a city council meeting Thursday afternoon.

“Well, it’s appropriate that they request a meeting with the city manager since I work for the city manager,” Segovia said. “So I think his plan is to have this meeting, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.”

However, he would not divulge exactly what he told council members about their Wednesday memo.

“It’s between them and me,” he said.

The San Antonio City Council only controls the hiring of the city manager, who is responsible for all other personnel decisions.

Walsh told KSAT he had not yet seen the memo.

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