Unions win round against city, Sculley vows appeal

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SAN ANTONIO — The city of San Antonio has lost the first round of its legal battles against the police and fire labor unions Monday when visiting Judge Martha Tanner rejected its arguments that a portion of its contracts with the unions are unconstitutional.

In separate lawsuits, the city had argued that the so-called “evergreen clause” violated the Texas Constitution. The clause automatically extends most contract provisions for up to a decade if no new contract is agreed to by both parties. The city argued that it created an unconstitutional unfunded debt and violated public policy by tying the hands of future elected officials.

 Attorneys for the police and fire unions successfully argued against the city’s position.

In a memo sent to the City Council late Monday, City Manager Sheryl Sculley indicated that the city’s legal team plans to appeal the rulings.

“We have just received rulings from District Judge Martha Tanner denying the City’s motions for summary judgment in both the police and fire cases. It was expected that whichever side lost at the district court level would appeal to a higher court,” she wrote. “The City’s legal team has always felt that our chances get better the higher we go in the court system, given the strength of our position and the significance of the constitutional issue at stake.”

The final line in the memo says that the city has spent less than $200,000 on the litigation — a point Sculley makes because the unions have said the city has spent more than $2 million on the endeavor.

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jbaugh@express-news.net

Twitter: @Baugh, Joshua A

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