SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Assistant City Manager and interim San Antonio Metropolitan Health District Director Colleen Bridger is leaving her city jobs next month to enter the private sector.
She had planned to step down as assistant city manager last summer, but was asked to temporarily take over the reigns of Metro Health when the previous director suddenly resigned as coronavirus cases were spiking. Bridger was the Metro Health director from 2017 to 2019 before she was promoted to assistant city manager, but she said at a recent COVID-19 briefing that the last several months have been the most challenging.
“I inherited a system I didn’t build, but was asked to run it in the middle of an emergency, and that’s probably one of the most challenging things I personally have ever experienced,” said Bridger.
A national search is underway to find a replacement. Bridger says Metro Health has a wealth of health professionals and she’s hoping the next director will be a “stellar” leader.
“What we need at the helm is somebody who is able to represent that talent well, communicate the importance of public health, manage all of the competing and growing priorities,” she said.
In a letter to City Manager Erik Walsh in October, Bridger said that putting her career plans on hold last July to lead Metro Health in the midst of the pandemic was a tough decision.
“To be honest, had I known all that we’d face over the last 4 months, I don’t know if I would have agreed to stay on,” Bridger said in the letter to Walsh.
She also listed some of her accomplishments during the last three-and-a-half years, including passage of the Tobacco 21 Ordinance, community-based work leading to the creation of the Institute for Trauma Informed Care and the creation of the Violence Prevention Division at Metro Health.
“I’ve been so fortunate to work with the tremendous City of San Antonio team,” she said in the letter.
She’s launching a private business called Colleen Bridger Consulting: Innovative Problem Solving for the Common Good.