TX Firefighters Meet Quota on Charter Petitions

San Antonio’s firefighters have gathered enough petition signatures as they try to amend the city charter and force arbitration in contract disputes.

San Antonio Professional Fire Fighters Association

May 17–The local firefighters union collected enough valid petition signatures to force a November charter-amendment election, City Clerk Leticia Vacek told the City Council Thursday.

The San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association gathered more than the 20,000 required signatures on each of its three proposed changes to the City Charter. The proposals would bring major changes to city government if approved.

The City Council now has until Aug. 20 to call a special election for the Nov. 6 ballot.

Accompanied by union reps and supporters, union president Chris Steele on April 11 delivered 100,000 signatures for the three petitions to City Hall. The union launched their campaign, called "San Antonio First," in February.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg opposes the proposals and has warned that the measures, if approved, would have "devastating effects on San Antonio."

One proposal would lower the threshold for a referendum by reducing the number of required signatures and extending the time allowed for signature-gathering. The other proposals would cap future city managers’ pay and tenure, and force the city into binding arbitration over fire union contract disputes.

Each of the petitions had between 20,101 and 20,226 valid signatures, with more than 30,000 signatures submitted for each petition. Some signatures were ruled invalid because signees were not registered voters, lived outside the city or left parts of the petition blank.

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