Mayor Rips Firefighters Union Over Petition Proposals

Mayor Nirenberg today hit back hard against the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association circulating charter change petitions at primary voting sites, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"Signing these petitions is the same as signing up for future tax increases and fees," the Mayor said in a City Hall news conference.

The SAPFFA wants to change the charter to outlaw legal action in labor disputes, limit the City Manager's salary and length of term, and make it easier for future charter changes to be made.

Nirenberg says those changes would cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, because the bond rating agencies, which currently have the city, as well as its owned utilities, at the best bond rating level possible, enabling bonds to be sold at super low interest rates.  San Antonio is the largest city in the country to boast a AAA bond rating.

"The measures being proposed would threatening the financial standing of this city, of CPS Energy, and the San Antonio Water System," the Mayor said.

That's because the bond rating agencies would see political meddling in the operations of the utilities, and of the City, and would back off the AAA bond rating. That would mean taxpayers would fork over millions of dollars more in interest for City and utility bonds.

Nirenberg said it would be in everybody's best interest if the SAPFFA would simply come to the bargaining table and start work on a new contract to replace the one that expired in 2014.

The City and the SAPFFA are in court over the 'Evergreen Clause' of the expired contract, which allows it to continue in place for ten years after its expiration, which is allowing the union not to agree to negotiations. City Manager Sheryl Sculley is demanding that the firefighters drop their 'zero premium' health insurance deal, just as the San Antonio Police Officers Association did in a contract agreement signed in 2015.

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