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City Moves Foward With Lawsuit Against Police Union

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Mayor Ivy Taylor infront of City Hall

The City of San Antonio is moving forward with its lawsuit against the San Antonio Police Officer’s association and its evergreen clause under the blessing of Mayor Ivy Taylor.

The evergreen clause allows the union’s previous contract that expired in 2014 to continue, up to 10 years, until a new contract is signed. On Wednesday, union president Mike Helle sent a letter to city council saying its negotiation team would not return to the bargaining table unless the city dropped its lawsuit. Mayor Taylor responded saying the city would take every action necessary to pursue its legal challenge. “We had not been taking any action to advance it because we did not want to interfere with negotiations," Taylor said. "We sincerely believed that the union was wanting to bargain in good faith and we didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that, so we did not advance to lawsuit.”

The city first filed its lawsuit in November of 2014, and it’s been a point of contention over the negotiations ever since.

The union claims the council members gave support of the suit behind closed doors. In response to Taylor, Mike Helle said in a statement: “It’s sad that City Council supported this lawsuit in private, secret meetings. They should debate this in public and go on the record to sue police officers so everyone knows who supports public safety and who doesn't.”

The city claims without a new contract, healthcare costs for each officer have risen beyond the city’s means to keep public safety costs within budget. As a result, the city may have to restructure its budget and take money allocated for officer pay raises to pay for healthcare.

The mayor said it could take a couple of months for the lawsuit to move forward.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules