The San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association is fighting back against claims made by City Manager Sheryl Sculley earlier this week that public safety workers will have to bear the brunt of cuts to health care and pension benefits in an effort to maintain the city's economic sustainability, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"The men and women in blue put our lives on the line to protect the citizens from harm caused by crime, fire and medical emergencies, and now we must protect the citizens from politicians who are threatening to bankrupt the city," said Andrew Hicks of the SAPFFA.
Sculley, in comments reported exclusively by 1200 WOAI news, told the San Antonio Manufacturers Association that the average 'employee in uniform' costs the city two and a half times on health care what the average civilian employee costs, a figure she said was far higher than any other city in Texas.
"It is almost double anything else in the state of Texas,"Sculley said. "It is out of line and we have to make some changes, and we'll be recommending this."
But Chris Steele, the President of SAPFFA Local 24, is calling 'BS' on Sculley's claims, and asking to see the numbers.
"The firefighters are asking the mayors staff to assist them in obtaining this data that should be rightfully disclosed to the public," Steele said.
Sculley also said public safety, which includes police and firefighters and their 'legacy costs' like pensions and long term health care, now take up more than two thirds of the city's general fund budget, relegating all other city services, from street maintenance to parks, to less than one third of the budget.
Sculley said that figure is unsustainable, but firefighters challenge her math.
Steele says a woman who makes as much as the President of the United States shouldn't be lecturing working class men and women that they make too much money.
"I know the City Manager has increased her salary almost 100% during the time she has been city manager here in San Antonio," Steele said. "But we all have a right to know what her department heads and assistants make and the increases she has given them over this same time. All the white, they have burdened the citizens of San Antonio with an amount of debt that jeopardizes San Antonio, with no end in sight."
Stele said he is seeking 'transparency and open government,' and will start 'exploring legal actions soon.'
The Williams Committee is currently meeting to explore ways the city's budget can be made more sustainable so as to avoid the types of problems facing Detroit and other cities which have been dragged down by legacy costs.