San Antonio City Council Approves New Police Collective Bargaining Agreement

City of San Antonio: Laura Mayes; 210-207-1337

SAN ANTONIO (May 12, 2022) — Today, the San Antonio City Council approved a five-year collective bargaining agreement with the San Antonio Police Officers Association (SAPOA). The new contract rebalances the disciplinary process for officers, which reflects the community's expectation that officers whose actions undermine community trust are held accountable. The agreement also ensures that officers are competitively paid, while they continue to contribute to the cost of healthcare.

"The City Council's approval of the agreement and the overwhelming support from rank-and-file officers are a clear demonstration that we are in a new era of cooperation between the City and SAPOA," said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. "I commend City Manager Erik Walsh, Deputy City Manager Maria Villagomez, City Attorney Andy Segovia, First Assistant City Attorney Liz Provencio and SAPOA President Danny Diaz and his team for the smooth, professional negotiations leading to this agreement. I also want to thank community members who helped shape our initial negotiation goals."

The approved contract maintains public safety spending below 66% of the City's General Fund Budget, consistent with the City's financial policy. With City Council's approval, the contract takes effect immediately and would end on September 30, 2026.

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"This contract compensates our officers for their great work in our community, while also ensuring a fair disciplinary process that is in line with what our community expects," said City Manager Erik Walsh. "I am certainly appreciative of our officers' work in our community every day. I want to thank the San Antonio Police Officers Association for working with the City to arrive at a contract that benefits both our officers and our residents."

"The San Antonio Police Association, along with our bargaining team would like to thank Mayor Ron Nirenberg, City Manager Erik Walsh, Deputy City Manager, Maria Villagomez, First Assistant City Attorney Liz Provencio and the entire City bargaining team for their hard work and due diligence. We appreciate their willingness to collaborate in creating an open dialogue with SAPOA's lead negotiator Sergeant Chris Lutton, Attorney Ron Delord and the SAPOA bargaining team," said San Antonio Police Officers Association President Danny Diaz. "We are pleased to have reached an agreement that is beneficial to the city, our citizens and our members of the San Antonio Police Officers Association."

Rebalances the Disciplinary Process
The approved contract rebalances the disciplinary process by giving proper weight to the Chief's decision when disciplining officers who have violated department policies, while still providing due process for the accused officer. The contract also limits the power of the arbitrator to change the level of discipline. Under the new contract, an arbitrator may not overturn the Chief's decision to fire an officer, unless the Chief fails to prove that misconduct is detrimental to the police department or doesn't meet community expectations. It also allows an officer's past discipline to be introduced when disciplining an officer. The approved contract also expands the time an officer can be disciplined for non-criminal misconduct from 180 days from the date of the incident to 180 days from when the Chief knew or should have known about the incident. The Chief must issue discipline within two years of the date of the incident.

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Competitive Wages & Healthcare
Under the new contract, San Antonio Police Officers will receive a 15% recurring wage increase over five-years and a one-time lump sum payment of two percent within 30 days. The contract also rescinds a clause that would have obligated the City to give police officers the same pay increases as firefighters, should their contract include higher pay. SAPOA also agreed to forgo funds from the City's American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) employee compensation. Under the new contract, officers will continue to contribute to the cost of healthcare.

Other contract terms
The contract is valued at $92.7 million over five years. It increases residency points for cadet applicants from San Antonio, increases training hours and provides officers with an option to contribute to a deferred compensation account instead of taking a lump sum payout prior to separation.

The approved contract establishes a new family leave benefit, providing officers with up to 160 hours of paid family leave after the birth, adoption or foster of a child.

The contract's evergreen clause remains at eight years. During any evergreen period, there are no base pay increases for union members, while they will continue to see contractually agreed upon increases to healthcare premiums of 10% annually.

The contract was ratified by SAPOA members on April 26, 2022.

Filed Under: Government, City

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