SAN ANTONIO – The president of the San Antonio Firefighters Association was noticeably absent Thursday from a press conference at the fire union's hall.
It was a repeat performance for Chris Steele as of late, despite having a victory to tout on two out of three city charter amendments voters approved Tuesday as a result of the San Antonio First campaign that Steele pushed.
Behind the podium, instead, was District 6 City Councilman Greg Brockhouse, who thanked members of the fire union for their hard work to get voters to approve propositions B and C on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Prop C allows the union to enter into binding arbitration in a dispute with the city.
Prop B sets a term limit and salary cap on future city managers.
Referring to Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Brockhouse said, "Ron got his feelings hurt" over the approval of the two amendments.
Brockhouse also took aim at city manager Sheryl Sculley.
"I think San Antonio is ripe for change," Brockhouse said. "Sheryl has been successful, and I will never take that away from her, but I think the power has become absolute."
Brockhouse said Sculley should resign and called on the City Council to consider a nationwide search for her replacement once the council "fixes that job description."
The council has been working with a consultant to define performance metrics for the city manager, which have been lacking to date.
In a statement released late Thursday afternoon, Sculley hasn't decided what she's going to do.
"If there's a discussion then it'll be between the Mayor and City Council and the City Manager. There's no reason for her to step down because one councilman, who has consistently been critical of her, calls for her resignation. This is nothing new; the fire union has made her their target for several years,” said Jeff Coyle, director of government and public affairs for the city of San Antonio.
In response to Brockhouse's press conference Thursday, Nirenberg issued a written statement, saying: "The public has had enough of overheated posturing from politicians. I am working to continue moving our city forward with the direction the voters have given us. Yesterday, I instructed City Attorney Andy Segovia to send a letter to the fire union's lawyer proposing a joint motion to dismiss pending lawsuits and counterclaims. I hope the union will agree with that and will also agree to come to the negotiating table so we can reach a deal on a new contract that is equitable to both first responders and taxpayers.
"Voters on Tuesday expressed overwhelming support for continuing down a path of increased prosperity and unprecedented economic progress. And they made clear they are tired of the conflict over the fire union contract and unhappy with the City Manager's compensation. I hear them loud and clear and will keep their concerns front and center as we keep moving forward."