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City Councilmen Say Enough Is Enough, Power Play Will Not Work

Ryan Loyd
TPR News

Two San Antonio City Council members are through hearing arguments being presented by the city's public safety unions as they negotiate health and benefit contracts with the city. While council members hope negotiations resume, Dist. 4 Councilman Rey Saldana and Dist. 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg have made it clear that they will not be intimidated.

Saldana wrote an editorial for the Express-News, dated Dec. 5, and called out police union chief negotiator, Ron DeLord, the co-author of a 2008 book titled “Police Union Power, Politics and Confrontation in the 21st Century.” Saldana said the book discussed the role of intimidation and power tactics in gaining a favorable contract outcome.

“In the book, tactics are described that describe using power, money and politics to ensure that talks around the contract remain stalled, that facts remain clouded, and that city officials feel the strength and intimidation of the police and fire unions," he told TPR.

He said enough was enough. He said none of the tactics had led to fruitful talks and instead, sent a scathing message to the unions. “This council is unique to all others because it will, in fact, stand up to the power, politics and confrontation that we’ve been seeing, because we know what is the right thing to do here, and for that, we’re also not going to reprimand nor fire our city manager for doing her job as a public administrator,” said Saldana.

Credit Ron Nirenberg for City Council District 8 Facebook

In Nirenberg’s Sunday editorial, the councilman said violent crime and economic failure was plaguing cities across the country, but not this one. He said San Antonio is a “top-tier American city, the cradle of Texas liberty and home base of America's military-medical complex.”

“We are the city where teamwork wins championships and where we work together to solve big problems,” Nirenberg wrote. He credited the city management for taking the city to where it is and said San Antonio had the right management in place to meet whatever challenges lay ahead.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.