$8K bill for city records holds up SAFD union talks

City: That's the cost of 92,000 documents going back 15 years

SAN ANTONIO – While police union representatives and city negotiators are scheduled to meet on a collective bargaining deal next week, firefighters are refusing to meet with the city until they resolve a $8,000 bill.

That's the charge for 92,000 documents responding to more than three dozen questions submitted last month by the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association. The questions are part of an open records request focused on health care benefits.

The city Thursday passed a $2.4 billion budget that includes lowering the contribution for healthcare coverage for uniformed employees to $10,000 per year. Uniformed workers have had that coverage at no cost.

Earlier this week, both police and fire union leaders said they wanted to work on a new contract with city officials before their contracts expire at the end of the month.

Wednesday, the SAPFA said it would not meet with the city until it had the documents from the city. At Thursday's council meeting, president Chris Steele balked at the fee.

"I just got a bill from the city for $8,000 for my data, so you know, I'm going to put away $800 a month like I do for my family budget and I might be able to sit at the table in ten months," Steele said.

A city spokeswoman said some of the data goes back 15 years.

"We're bending over backwards to provide them with the information they need to get them to come to the table and bargain in good faith," city manager Sheryl Sculley said.

Representatives with the San Antonio Police Officers Association are scheduled to meet with the city Sept. 23.