The expected battle between the San Antonio Police Officers Association and the City of San Antonio has begun, with the SAPOA running super hard ball radio commercials blasting City Manager Sheryl Sculley by name as a liar who can't be trusted,' Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
The ads, which began running on WOAI Radio on Wednesday, claim Sculley threatened at a closed door meeting to fire 100 police officers and then denied making the threat.
"If Sheryl Sculley won't stand behind what she says about the police, then how can she be trusted to tell the truth about the city budget," the ads claim.
The ads are hinting that Sculley's claim that the spending on health care benefits for police and firefighters are growing to the point that they threaten to 'crowd out' the rest of city spending is a lie, and people shouldn't believe it.
The ad says police officers are required to tell the truth.
"If they are dishonest, they can lose their job and even go to jail," the SAPOA ad said. "Shouldn't we expect the same from our city manager?"
SAPOA President Detective Michael Helle vowed in a video released last week to go after city officials and to 'take the fight to the people.' This appears to be the first move in that effort.
Richard Perez, the President of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and a supporter of Sculley, said last week that Helle's claims are hard to swallow.
"The City of San Antonio, me and you, can't afford the level of benefits that police officers and firefighters have had for over 25 years," Perez said.
Sculley says the police and fire associations need to accept the same health insurance plans which are currently given to the city's civilian workers, which requires the worker to pay a portion of that cost.
At least the SAPOA is negotiating. The San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association has declined to even negotiate the issue. Both groups say they negotiated in good faith over the past three decades to obtain the benefits they have today, and say they sacrificed in salary and other areas to maintain those benefits.
Helle says San Antonio is a test case for other public safety agencies statewide, and said if his association caves, it will lead to major cuts for public safety workers in other major cities.