Court sides with firefighters union over SAFD classified position

SAN ANTONIO – A court sided with the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association in a case against the city, but now the city is preparing to appeal that decision.

On Jan. 25, a judgement ruled the assistant to the director of the San Antonio Fire Department should be classified under the Civil Service Act. That means the position should be filled by a uniformed firefighter. Retired Chief Noel Horan, however, is currently serving in the role.

“(It) really doesn't have anything to do with the individual that's in there. It’s that that position should be someone who currently has the highest skills, knowledge, training and ability to do that job,” said Chris Steele, president of the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association.

Deputy City Manage Erik Walsh sent KSAT the following statement:

"The City doesn't agree with the court's decision and believes that having a civilian professional oversee the financial, payroll and personnel functions staffed by civilians within the Fire Department is a more efficient use of resources than assigning a uniformed firefighter from a fire station to handle these functions. We believe the community is better served having firefighters available to respond to emergencies than sitting at a desk. We plan to brief City Council at the end of the month on this case. I will be recommending to the City Manager that we pursue an appeal."