Suzanne Scott: Reflections of a Public Servant

The River Authority
Oct 27, 2020
General

I recently announced my retirement from the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) after 20 years with the agency and 13 years as General Manager.  I am extremely proud of the projects and activities we have accomplished that have made the river safer, cleaner and more enjoyable.  I am not only retiring from the River Authority, but I am also concluding a more than 30-year career as a public servant and moving into the non-profit sector to serve as the Texas State Director for The Nature Conservancy

Celebrating with project partners the last tree planting of the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration & Recreation Project

Celebrating with project partners the last tree planting of the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration & Recreation Project.

Over my public sector career, I have worked with numerous elected officials, attended hundreds of public meetings, and responded to the questions and concerns of thousands of citizens.  I have learned that the most important traits of a good public servant are responsiveness, stewardship of public resources, and personal and professional integrity.  These values often get overshadowed in the polarizing politics that surrounds government today, but they are, in my opinion, the standard of good government.

From my view, responsiveness from a public servant is a sign of respect.  This is exhibited through listening, understanding, promoting dialogue not judgement, showing a willingness to accept views that differ from your own, and answering calls, emails, letters, and inquiries promptly. As stewards of public funds, I remind every employee at the River Authority during their orientation that we are entrusted to manage the hard-earned dollars of every taxpayer and rate payer and that is a high honor that we should not take for granted.  We are taxpayers too and we don’t want our tax dollars wasted, so too should we ensure that all citizens get value from the public dollars we manage and invest in our work. Integrity means being honest, transparent, and accountable. No one is perfect, but we must be responsible for the actions we take personally and professionally.  Earning the public’s trust takes time and hard work. Maintaining that trust takes humility, while producing quality results.     

Volunteering with River Authority staff, River Warriors and District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran’s office at the annual Basura Bash River and Waterway Cleanup event.

Volunteering with River Authority staff, River Warriors and District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran’s office at the annual Basura Bash River and Waterway Cleanup event.

During my tenure as General Manager, I worked to establish a culture at the River Authority around these core values.  The River Authority, through its board and staff, will continue to live out that culture while they inspire future actions for healthy creeks and rivers.  It has been my true honor to serve this agency and the citizens of the San Antonio River Basin.