Audio recording catches councilman talking against public safety unions lawsuits

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Police Officers Association said Wednesday that a lawsuit filed by the city against public safety unions should be revoked immediately based on comments made by District 9 City Councilman Joe Krier at a public meeting.

The union posted a short audio recording of Krier telling residents in his district that he believes the city has a less than a 5 percent chance of winning the lawsuit and admitted it’s just a leverage tool.

Krier was talking to constituents about the ongoing fight between the city and its public safety unions.

Mike Helle, president of SAPOA, said the audio clip was recorded last month by one of its members at a neighborhood association meeting and they believe it captures Krier’s honest feelings about the city’s lawsuit against the unions.

“The only bargaining chip we have right now that’s of any importance to them is this Evergreen Clause,” Krier said in the recording.

The recording also captured an exchange between Krier and a man where the councilman lays out his thoughts on how successful he believes that lawsuit will be.

“Krier: There is a less than 5 percent, listen I am a lawyer, there is a 5 percent chance that the city can win that declaratory judgment action. Less than 5 percent.”

Unidentified man: “And you’re hoping to go to appeal after that.”

Krier: “Absolutely, go all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Helle said Krier’s “confession” raises some serious questions for the city, mainly why they’re spending so much money on a lawsuit they don’t think they can win.

“If he thinks that it’s just for leverage, that is the worst reason for doing what they’re doing,” Helle said. “Why in the world would you spend almost a million dollars, they’ve spent almost a million dollars to day on these attorneys, to fight us for what?”

Councilman Krier addressed the recording in a statement.

In it he said he’s “honoring the mayor’s request to not stir up this issue outside of the negotiating table” and described the union’s actions as”underhanded, unethical political gotcha tactics.”

Helle said the union is just trying to keep Krier and other city officials honest.

“The councilman has to know that someone’s going to hold him accountable for the truth,” Helle said.

Both Krier and the city urged the unions to return to talks. Helle said the police union will be back at the negotiating table next week for a planned session on Feb. 20.

To hear a clip from the recording click here.

Response from the City:

“The police union needs to come to the table and negotiate a contract that is affordable to the taxpayers. This personal attack represents yet another distraction by the union.”

Krier released the following statement:

“San Antonio has some of the finest police and fire personnel in the United States. I have always supported what it takes to recruit and retain the BEST men and women for the SAFD and the SAPD.

I regret internal and external police union politics has resulted in a personal attack. However, I am continuing to honor the Mayor’s request that we not stir up this issue outside the negotiating table. I refuse to engage in underhanded and unethical political “gotcha” tactics employed by the union. Transparency and honesty is what is needed now.

I would urge police and fire union leaders to return to the negotiating table and work to achieve a contract that is in the best interest of the citizens and taxpayers of San Antonio. An agreement that will help us find and keep the best men and women in Public Safety. And one that will help us secure sustainable City finances in the years ahead.”