SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Police Officers Association offered up a list of dates Wednesday for negotiations with the city to reach a new contract under one condition: the city drop its lawsuit against the union.
The city responded by agreeing to the proposed dates, but announcing it filed notice to appeal the lawsuit against the union, which the city lost last year.
"We were excited to hear that they wanted to continue meeting," Mayor Ivy Taylor said Wednesday morning. "If we bargain and negotiate in good faith, I think we can arrive at a contract that meets the needs of our first responders -- who, we appreciate the work that they do, putting their lives on the line -- but also protects the San Antonio taxpayers."
But Wednesday afternoon, SAPOA said never mind.
Mike Helle, SAPOA president, said the union will not negotiate because the city filed notice of appeal and the lawsuit still looms.
"We'll have the same threat lingering out there that if they don't get what they want or they don't get their way- or 'I'm going to filed this lawsuit now,'" Helle said. "That's not the way you negotiate with family. They need to understand that. For 40 years now, we've negotiated with the city of San Antonio and for 40 years we've done a good job."
The city says no action will be taken in the appeal for 60 to 90 days and no oral arguments will be made for approximately six months.
The city contends that it is time to negotiate in good faith and that the notice of appeal preserves its legal options.
The lawsuit the city filed against SAPOA centers around the evergreen clause in the union's now-expired contract.
That clause allows officers to continue operating under the terms of the expired contract for up to 10 years or until a new contract is reached.
The city filed suit claiming that clause was unconstitutional. A judge did not rule in the city's favor and now it plans to appeal.
Wednesday's developments amounted to a false start with all indications pointing to the next round kicking off in the courtroom.