City's Proposal For Police Contract Dead On Arrival
It was the same old song Wednesday when the City of San Antonio made an offer to resume contract negotiations with the San Antonio Police Officer’s Association. The proposal was dead on arrival.
“We are sincerely making every effort possible to get the police union back to the negotiating table including compromising on the evergreen clause,” the Mayor said a news conference in front of City Hall.
Part of the city’s proposal offered to delay further court action on its lawsuit challenging the union contract’s evergreen clause. The clause keeps the current police and fire healthcare benefits through 2024 unless another contract is signed. The city says the benefits are becoming increasingly unaffordable.
In the proposal, the city asked for five meetings with union officials in March. In return the city would agree to a three year evergreen clause and drop its lawsuit, but only if there’s an agreement by the end of the month. The union’s answer?
“I don’t know how many times I have to say it. We’re not going back to the bargaining table until they drop
the lawsuit,” said Mike Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officer’s Association.
Last year, a district court ruled against the City. The City is now appealing. City Manager Sheryl Sculley, says she wasn’t surprised by the first court ruling. “We believe as we go higher through the court system we have a higher likelihood of success,” she said. “We expected to lose in the district court but we believe at the court of appeals and the [Texas] Supreme Court we have a much better chance of winning.”
Helle says he’s surprised Sculley would say the city expected a loss. “You should be outraged that as a taxpayer by that statement alone,” he said.
Helle claims the city has spent $2 million on the lawsuit. The city says it’s much less, around $200,000. Sculley contends any money spent on the lawsuit is much less than police and fire healthcare costs without a contract.