San Antonio City Council voted unanimously Dec. 1 to select Mike Gallagher, a former District 10 council member, to temporarily serve as the District 10 representative while permanent Council Member Clayton Perry is on sabbatical.
Gallagher was one of 18 District 10 residents who applied with the city by Nov. 30 to work as the interim council representative for the Northeast Side district.
Perry announced at the Nov. 14 council meeting that he would take a temporary leave of absence following his suspected involvement in a vehicular hit-and-run that remains under investigation by local law enforcement authorities. Perry said he did not know how long he would be on leave from public office.
City officials said they pared the initial list of District 10 replacements to three finalists: Gallagher, Jose Garcia and Pauline Rubio.
The finalists were allowed to make a brief opening statement and answer questions from the council. After a 40-minute closed door discussion, many council members expressed interest in picking Gallagher, who represented District 10 from January 2014 through May 2017.
While they praised other District 10 hopefuls, some council members said Gallagher’s experience working within area neighborhood/homeowner’s associations and as an elected city leader will also help to serve constituents more efficiently.
Gallagher presides over the Northern Hills Homeowners Association and the Northeast Neighborhood Alliance, a coalition of Northeast Side homeowner and neighborhood groups.
“For me it was important how we best serve the District 10 residents, and that service to residents continues seamlessly as possible,” District 7 Council Member Ana Sandoval said.
Following the council vote, Gallagher was sworn into office and quickly took his council seat for the remainder of the meeting. He issued a brief statement, saying he looked forward to continuing the work of District 10 while Perry is away.
“I’m grateful for the district and city staffs who will make this transition seamless and to the council for entrusting me with this duty,” Gallagher said.
Three District 10 residents addressed the council, voicing their support for Gallagher as interim council member. Carl Merkle said Perry’s replacement should represent largely conservative “sensibilities” of his constituents, and former District 10 Council Member John Clamp lauded Gallagher’s council experience, neighborhood advocacy and practical approach to local issues.
Resident Jo Alexander agreed with other speakers that Gallagher’s civic experiences give him the advantage in serving as interim District 10 council representative.
“We need someone to fill that chair on a temporary basis, and we don’t have time to train somebody to fill that chair,” she said.