Recording Lays Out Fire Union Chief Chris Steele's City Hall Ambitions

click to enlarge Chris Steele speaks at the Bexar County Democratic Party headquarters. - SANFORD NOWLIN
Sanford Nowlin
Chris Steele speaks at the Bexar County Democratic Party headquarters.
In an audio recording that appears to contradict his public statements, fire union president Chris Steele said he's pushing the union's three proposed ballot measures to secure a labor contract and make Councilman Greg Brockhouse San Antonio's next mayor.

The 49-second recording was made at a union meeting an unidentified firefighter, according to Christian Archer, manager of the Go Vote No campaign against the union-backed amendments. Archer provided the recording to local media, including The Current.

“The tactical objective is get the city to drop the lawsuit, get the city to negotiate fairly, because at the end of this when we go to the table, they can do like they did in mediation, they can just jack us around,” Steele said on the recording. “The third thing is set it up to where May of 2019, we can put our own guy in the mayor’s office, which would be Greg Brockhouse in the mayor’s office.”

Brockhouse, who once did consulting work for the firefighters union, has been Mayor Ron Nirenberg's sharpest critic on council.

In public, Steele has denied that amendments are a power play, describing them instead as a way put power back into the hands of San Antonio's citizens.

The amendments are largely viewed as a scorched-earth payback to the city over stalled contract negotiations. Along with making it easier for citizens to force a public vote on proposed ordinances, they would push negotiations with the union into binding arbitration and limit future city managers’ salaries and tenure.

Voters will decide on the measures November 6.

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