The San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association today presented petitions bearing 100,000 signatures calling for major changes in the City Charter, including restrictions on the salary and the length of service of the City Manager, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"We are sending that message today, no more games, Mayor," SAPFFA President Chris Steele said as a large crowd on the City Hall steps chanted 'no more games!'
The charter change drive is part of the ongoing battle between the Firefighters Union and the City over the fact that the SAPFFA doesn't have a contract, and the City is suing the union to get the 'Evergreen Clause' in the old contract, which allows the terms of the 2011 contract to remain in force for ten years, thrown out as unconstitutional.
Mayor Ron NIrenberg spoke out strongly against the petition drive in his State of the City speech yesterday, and again today.
"It would cost us when credit rating agencies downgrade us when we have to pay millions of dollars a year in interest," Nirenberg said. "It would cost us when we have trouble to hire a City Manager to preside over an enterprise consisting of thousands of workers."
Steele says he plans to put these issues on the municipal ballot later this year. Expect the City to go to court to claim the petitons are invalid and inadequate under municipal law, which is different from state law.One of the charter amendments would allow voters to push for a public election to overturn the actions of City Council, a move Nirenberg says would cost taxpayers a fortune in the costs of repeated elections called by special interests upset with 'the duly elected representatives of the people.'
"This is an attempt to seize control from the voters and allow special interests to rule," Nirenberg said.