Northwest side Councilman Greg Brockhouse is criticizing City Council for holding an initial discussion on that very controversial sick leave proposal in a top secret session, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Labor and activist groups presented petitions containing more than 100,000 signatures last month, demanding that the City approve a measure which requires all private employers in the city to grant paid sick leave to all full time employees. They say as many as four in ten local full time workers lack paid sick leave, meaning many have to go to work when they or their children are sick.
Supporters say this leads to the spread of disease as people spread germs in the workplace, and even spread diseases to customers.
"This may affect every employee and business owner in San Antonio and they must be included in the debate. As we have learned in the past, decisions made without key stakeholders erode the public’s trust,” Brockhouse said.
This isn’t the first time City Council’s penchant for secrecy has raised eyebrows. Mayor Nirenberg called an executive session of City Council last month to reject proposals that the City seek to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.
“Moving forward it is important the City Council hold dialogue on the merits of the ordinance in an open meeting so everyone in our community…the petitioners, the residents and the business community can be a part of the conversation,” Brockhouse said.
Opponents of the sick leave plan say it would discourage start-up businesses from opening in San Antonio, due to the additional cost of sick leave payments, and would punish small, locally owned companies. Some on Council have suggested limiting the paid sick leave requirement to large companies only, with a minimum number of employees.
And there are even questions about whether city councils approving this legislation is legal. Austin City Council in February approved a similar ordinance, and it is being challenged in court by the state and local business groups.