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What Could Proposed Changes To The City's Charter Mean For San Antonio?

Ryan Loyd
TPR News
San Antonio City Hall

The latest round in a long-running debate over renewing local firefighters' salary and health care benefits now involves the revival of a political action committee.

The PAC, called "Secure San Antonio's Future," plans to raise $1 million to challenge proposals made by the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association to alter the City's charter. 

Earlier this year, the fire union submitted three petitions, each proposing a key change to how local government can function. 

One amendment seeks to cap the salary and tenure of the city manager. The second requires fewer signatures to challenge local ordinances passed by the City Council, and a third will require binding arbitration instead of a lawsuit during contract negotiations. 

The City Clerk has since verified at least 20,000 signatures per petition, which is required by state law to potentially add the proposals to the November ballot after approval by City Council.

These moves are a part of a years-long chess game between the fire union and the City of San Antonio.

Although the collective bargaining agreement between the two parties expired in 2014, an "evergreen clause" allows uniformed employees the same benefits for about 6 more years unless new terms can be negotiated.

A pending lawsuit regarding the dispute was recently denied a review by the Texas Supreme Court, making a resolution through the judicial system much less likely.    

How much could further legal action cost the City of San Antonio? What is the next step for the proposed amendments? 


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Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.