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Evergreen Clause Holding Up Deal Between Police Union And City

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Ron DeLord, chief negotiator for the San Antonio Police Officer's Association (right) hands a settlement agreement to Jeff Londa, chief negotiatior for the City of San Antonio

Negotiation progress between the San Antonio Police Officers Union and City of San Antonio has slightly unraveled after the two sides were near a deal Thursday night.

The city and union placed settlement agreements on the table with wages and healthcare agreed upon for the first time in 18 months of negotiation. However, disputes on the evergreen clause stopped a deal from being signed. Police Association President Mike said there are still some small provisions to iron out.

“Ultimately it’s going to come down to the evergreen clause,” Helle said. The legal position that the city has got themselves into is creating a problem for them and it’s unfortunate. It’s not our problem it’s their problem.”

The evergreen clause keeps items like healthcare benefits at the same level until a new contract is signed. The current evergreen expires in 2024. Deputy City Manager Erik Walsh says the evergreen has pushed healthcare costs more than the city can afford.

“We have seen healthcare go up from $13,000 per police officer to $19,000 during this evergreen period. We’ve had to make adjustments in our annual budget to account for that," Walsh said. "It’s not so much a legal issue as it is a financial issue.”

The city’s agreement proposal offered a five year evergreen when the new contract would expire in 2019. The union wants an evergreen through 2027, a total of eight years.

The city has a lawsuit on the evergreen clause pending. In negotiations this morning, the city presented another agreement with some of the unions requests. Since one member of the police association's bargaining team was present and a decision could not be made. Another negotiation date has not been set.