Firefighter Charter Change Petitions Expected to be Accepted by City

City Hall will announce this week whether the petition signatures gathered by the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association calling for cutting the salary of the city manager will be placed on the November charter election ballot, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The petitions also call for a charter election on a measure requiring that all labor disputes go to binding arbitration, and one measure that would make it easier for voters to challenge measures passed by City Council in their regular course of business.

The  City Clerk worked with the Bexar County Elections Department using  their software to verify the signatures. 

The City anticipates the City Clerk will certify that each of the three petitions has the  minimum 20,000 valid signatures required under State law. The results  for each petition will be presented on Thursday.

“This is just another step in the process,” City Clerk Leticia Vacek said. “I want to thank my staff for their hard work and diligence and Bexar County staff for their equipment and assistance during this process.”

City officials say the proposals, especially the one that would limit the pay of the City Manager to ten times the salary of the lowest paid City employee, and would also limit the City Manager’s tenure to no more than eight years, would damage the City’s ability to find a top quality manager.  The provisions would not affect current City Manager Sheryl Sculley.

The City also claims that any tampering with the City’s governance structure of this sort could lead to the City losing its top-grade credit rating, meaning borrowing money would be more costly.

The City and the SAPFFA have been at odds since 2014, mainly over the ‘Evergreen Clause’ in the 2011 contract, which allows the terms of that contract to remain in place after the contract’s expiration date.  That clause has allowed the SAPFFA to dodge demands by Sculley that it give up its almost unheard-of zero premium health care benefit, which Sculley says is unsustainable and is too costly to the taxpayers.

The City has placed a new contract proposal on the table,  but the union says it will not negotiate until the City drops a lawsuit against it, challenging the constitutionality of the Evergreen Clause.

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