Mayor Taylor outlines short-, long-term priorities
Union chiefs hopeful she can break impasse
SAN ANTONIO – Although she was dogged by the public safety unions during her campaign, Mayor Ivy Taylor said it was her responsibility to get the groups back to the collective bargaining table.
"I'll continue to focus on us resolving this in the best interest of our taxpayers and to ensure that we offer them a good package, a strong package," Taylor said. "We know that they have very important jobs, but we can only do what we can afford."
The presidents of both unions expressed confidence in Taylor's leadership and believe negotiations can continue.
"She's got a clean slate. She's got a new opportunity," said police union president Michael Helle. "The mayor will have to say, 'You're not going to like this, but this is what we're going to do, Mike. You're not going to like this Sheryl, but this is what we're going to do,' but you know as well as I do that in any kind of settlement when both people are angry then you probably know you got the middle."
"She's got a big task ahead of her because for the success of the city we're talking about reconciliation," said fire union president Chris Steele.
Part of that reconciliation will be addressing the lawsuit that currently hangs over negotiations. Both union bosses said the city should drop the lawsuit, but Taylor said, "As of today, we're continuing on that path, but I am looking forward to see what comes of the discussions."
Another group hoping to sit down with mayor are the thousands of rideshare supporters in San Antonio. After the city rewrote its rideshare policies, transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft left town. Taylor said the issues could be back on the table.
"Now that the legislative session is over, and they didn't get the relief that they were looking for from the state, certainly I'm interested in how we can re-look at it again here at the city level," Taylor said.
An urban planner by trade, Taylor said she is looking forward to championing smart growth in the city. She said crafting a master plan would be a big step, but she wants the city to take action to ensure balanced growth.
"It's not just about writing a plan and having a bunch of nice maps and a nice document on the shelf. Are we going to put our money where our mouths are after we write this plan? Then comes the 2017 bond, are we going to be willing to invest in things we outline as priorities for our community," she said.
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