Union nego­tiations surpass $1 million mark

SAN ANTONIO – Negotiations between the city and the police union have cost taxpayers more than $1.3 million, according to the city’s most recent financial data. So far this year, the city has paid $631,468.41 to three legal firms and two actuary firms for their part in collective bargaining negotiations. In 2014, the city paid approximately $726,729.79.

When talks resume on July 10 after months of silence between the two sides, the city will have paid $1,358,198.

To date, the city has paid Houston-based firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., where chief negotiator Jeff Londa is employed, more than $453,500.

Bracewell & Giuliani has received approximately $253,300. Former city attorney Michael Bernard, who works for the firm, joined negotiations last August.

Fort Worth-based law firm Lynn, Ross & Gannaway, LLP, where city negotiator Bettye Lynn is a partner, has received nearly $317,700.

The city has also paid the actuary firms of MHBT and Gallagher Benefit Services a combined $333,550.

In February, City Manager Sheryl Sculley said it’s her responsibility to get the best deal for public safety employees and taxpayers, and doing so means hiring the brightest legal minds the city can find.

“Our responsibility is to the best we job we can for the taxpayers of San Antonio,” said Sculley earlier this year. “I have a financial responsibility to the City Council and also to the community to spend our dollars wisely. We want to make sure that what we’re doing is fair and equitable for our employees and also affordable to the taxpayers.”

The 2015 financial breakdown is below:

  • Lynn, Ross & Gannaway, LLP – $97,960.86
  • Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. – $114,646.37
  • Bracewell & Giuliani – $85,311.18
  • MHBT – $258,850
  • Gallagher Benefit Services – $74,700