Are police union ‘no confidence' vote, city negotiations related issues?
Question posed to police chief, union president, city manager
SAN ANTONIO – More than 1,800 San Antonio police officers voted they have "no confidence" in Chief William McManus. The union leaders have requested that McManus resign.
McManus stepped out publicly to defend himself on Thursday with the support of several city officials and community leaders.
The "no confidence" vote was on the same ballot as one that asked officers if they wanted to negotiate a new deal with the city while they're being sued over their contract's evergreen clause.
The question KSAT wanted to know: Are the two issues related?
"I can say unequivocally that I will not resign," McManus said at a large press conference.
He reiterated several times during the conference that he will not bow to the vote of no confidence and the union's call for him to step down.
"The most ridiculous the most ludicrous the most preposterous statement I have heard in all of this is that I don't care about officer safety," he said.
McManus believes the leadership of the San Antonio Police Officers Association pressured the members to vote against him.
"The SAPOA leadership has led the department down the wrong path with misinformation and rumors. False information about what the changes are, what the changes will be. The misinformation being spread is that I am going to implement policies that will make officers unsafe and that I don't have their backs," McManus said.
Watch Chief McManus' entire press conference.
City Manager Sheryl Sculley agreed.
"I do believe that the officers were pressured with this vote," Sculley said." There's nothing objective about it. There were emails after emails sent out to the officers demanding that they vote against the chief."
In a one-on-one interview Thursday night, union President Mike Helle countered those statements.
"I don't know how they would have been misled. This vote for the “no confidence” vote came from the membership. It was overwhelmingly, they were screaming, sending me emails, when I'd see them in the hallways, demanding that there be a “no confidence” vote on the chief of police," Helle said.
The second proposition voted on was by members was whether the union should continue negotiating with the city, if the city is still suing the union -- 99 percent of members voted no.
KSAT asked Helle if the ballot itself was a way to put pressure on the city to drop the lawsuit.
"I don't think so," he said. "I mean, they're going to do whatever they want to do at the end of the day."
When Sculley was asked whether the vote will sway her to drop the lawsuit, she said no.
"The mayor and council have directed me to continue with the lawsuit. We want the union to come back to the table," she said.
However, Helle did link the two issues when he said that dropping the lawsuit could relieve union anger, even toward McManus.
"If we can secure a contract that the rank and file is comfortable with, where we can put that behind us and move forward, I think that eases the tension a lot and the anger that they may have with Chief McManus. Maybe some of it's a derivative of what we're seeing with the mayor and the city manager," Helle said.
When asked if he would be able to patch things up with McManus, he said he could if he sees the chief proving to officers he has their backs.
McManus said he's already doing that.
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