'Evergreen Clause' Decision Sparks Division at City Hall

Opposition is growing at City Hall to the City's plan to appeal a lawsuit seeking to have the so called 'Evergreen Clause' in the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association's 2011 contract with the city declared illegal, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Northwest side Councilman Greg Brockhouse, who is a former consultant to the SAPFFA, says the city has already 'wasted almost a million taxpayer dollars' fighting a provisions of a contract it voluntarily signed.

"The full City Council should review this course of action and go on the record in a public vote on continuing the lawsuit to the Texas Supreme Court," Brockhouse said.

The 'Evergreen Clause' calls for the provisions of the contract to remain in place for ten years after its expiration.  Since the contract expired in 2014, the existence of the 'Evergreen Clause' has allowed the SAPFFA to avoid City Manager Sheryl Sculley's demand that public safety employees pick up more of their and their family's health insurance costs, claiming the skyrocketing cost of that coverage is potentially 'crowding out' other items in the City's general fund budget.

Mayor Nirenberg immediately echoed Sculley's call for the verdict to be appealed.“We recognize and applaud the hard work of our firefighters, who risk their lives to keep our residents safe. The evergreen clause, however, inhibits negotiations for new agreements and forces the City to provide benefits that threaten to overwhelm the City budget," the Mayor said.  "This restricts our ability to provide other important City services. The evergreen clause eliminates any urgency to strike a new deal that is more fair and balanced for all."

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