Former head of San Antonio’s tricentennial quits the city altogether

January 12, 2018

Former Tricentennial Executive Director Edward Benavides, who resigned from the position in November and has been on paid time off as a municipal employee, has resigned from the city, according to a memo from City Manager Sheryl Sculley.

Benavides stepped down from the commission after substantial criticism and cited continuing “negativity” as his reason for leaving. Assistant City Manager Carlos Contreras was appointed interim executive director shortly thereafter. He’s now the permanent head of the commission, the memo says.

Formerly Sculley’s chief of staff, Benavides earned nearly $168,000 annually, up from $132,804 in his previous position. Benavides was expected to return to work this year. City officials were working to match him with a position within the municipal government. Instead, he “tendered his resignation” on Thursday — effective March 30.

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“As part of his separation agreement, he will remain available until March as a resource to Carlos for questions that arise regarding the planning and execution of the Tricentennial events occurring during Commemorative Week, which will take place May 1-6th, 2018,” Sculley wrote.

In his resignation letter, Benavides wrote that he’s been a career public servant, mostly with the city of San Antonio.

“The majority of my career has been dedicated to the City of San Antonio and the organization served an integral role in my public service career as evidenced by increasing professional growth opportunities over the course of my tenure with the City,” he wrote. “In all my work and contribution, I have lead (sic) with integrity, high ethical values and professionalism. I am proud and appreciative of my public service career and it has been an honor to serve the community of San Antonio.”

He notes that he’ll continue to use accrued leave until the end of March.

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Benavides had been criticized for his handling of multiple contracts with the Tricentennial Commission, including an exclusive media partnership with KSAT-TV. He and his then-lieutenant, Asia Ciaravino, negotiated exclusively for months with the station before a competitor complained to Sculley. She directed Benavides to issue a call for proposals, which ultimately resulted in deals with KSAT and Univision.

He was also criticized for making major decisions without consulting the volunteer board charged with oversight.

The commission kicked off tricentennial celebrations with a New Year’s Eve event. It’s currently working on identifying key events over the next several months that best honor and commemorate the city’s first 300 years.

Josh Baugh is a San Antonio Express-News staff writer. Read more of his stories here. | jbaugh@express-news.net | @jbaugh