San Antonio Firefighter’s Union President claims support for Union backed charter amendments from 5 City Council members

KTSA/Dennis Foley

Another audio leak of the city’s Firefighter’s Union President talking about City Council support for union backed amendments to the City Charter.

On Tuesday, the group Go Vote No released the audio clip of Steele claiming he had solid votes from 5 city council members who support the union’s efforts.

“The City is probably not going to agree to an arbitrator because everything they have said has been a lie. And the arbitrator is going to see that the City has money. That the City has no business filing a lawsuit.”

Steele went on to say, the Union has City Council on it’s side.

“We’ve got five solid votes now. Five Solid. Greg Brockhouse in 6, he’s heading that up. Ana Sandoval in 7. Manny Palaez in 8. Uh, Clay Perry in 10 and Shirley Gonzalez in 5. We’re solid.”

Steele also says that City Manager Sheryl Sculley “Can’t even make a dent in them at this point.”

 

Three of the City Council members mentioned by Steele sent out statements disputing his claims.

Councilman Manny Palaez says:

“I was saddened and disappointed to hear Mr. Steele’s comments. It was irresponsible of him to tell people that he owns my votes on City Council. My vote on City Council does not belong to any single political operative or special interest group. My votes only belong to the constituents whom I represent. My allegiance is to the people who expect me to bring them safe streets, clean parks, uninterrupted city services, a balanced budget, and a AAA bond-rating. On the day I was elected to represent my neighbors at City Council, I made three important promises: to never shy away from difficult conversations, to always vote my conscience, and to oppose anything that threatens San Antonio’s future. It is not up for debate that Mr. Steele’s campaign of division threatens San Antonio’s ability to thrive. I intend to keep my promises by opposing Mr. Steele’s campaign.”

Councilwoman Sandoval’s statement reads:

“My vote on Council will always be guided by what is best for the residents of District 7 and the residents of San Antonio, whom I’ve committed to serve. I’ve met Mr. Steele once in my life- months before I ever took office – and we did not discuss this issue. For him to say he has my vote locked up is baseless.

“I, along with all of my colleagues, care for our firefighters. I have advocated for their welfare and safety. I want – and I will work toward – an agreement that takes care of our firefighters and serves the residents of our city.”

Council Perry responded as well:

“The assumptions made by Chief Steele on recent audio recordings released are just that.

I have made an effort to remain neutral on the November ballot Propositions A, B, and C to not sway voters on their personal views of how City Hall is governed. This vote is theirs.

I have gathered information and researched what impacts similar ordinances have had on other cities. I am not fully convinced that the potential impacts to San Antonio are as dire as some have implied. I believe these proposed charter amendments will not move San Antonio forward. I am a proponent of data driven decisions that improve governance, and I have not seen proof that these charter amendments will benefit our City.

I support reviewing all aspects of how we govern and interact with our neighbors and want to ensure that we are open and transparent at City Hall.

These propositions are a direct result of the failure to move forward with the contract between the City and Fire Union—both are to blame. There is no excuse to go over four years without a contract or to enter into multiple expensive lawsuits—some of which are still ongoing.

I wish this would not have gotten to this point, but we are in a nasty battle that will only get nastier over the next several weeks.

While it is not my intention to campaign for or against Propositions A, B and C, I’ll personally be voting no. This has nothing to do with choosing sides, this is about what I believe is the best way to move San Antonio forward.”

The Union weighed in with this response:

“The City has apparently had someone taping our meetings for more than a year and yet they have nothing. It has become blatantly obvious that Shery Sculley and the special interest who run city hall play games like that, while potholes go unfixed and Fire doesn’t have a contract. Do you need more proof about who these city council people actually work for?”

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