After using ‘nuclear’ option, San Antonio council members get their meetings on fire contract, city attorney suitability

SAN ANTONIO – Following a public blow-up that included calling to possibly oust the city attorney, some San Antonio City Council members will get the meetings they’ve been demanding.

Five of the 11 council members first asked on Wednesday for a closed-door, “executive session” meeting about the stalled fire contract negotiations. But after City Attorney Andy Segovia denied their request, the same group filed another memo Thursday, asking for a meeting to discuss Segovia’s suitability for the job.

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For his part, Segovia has said he thinks someone is leaking information about what happens during those confidential meetings.

City Manager Erik Walsh told council members Friday the two issues would be added to the agendas of already-scheduled city council meetings. But they won’t all be public.

The discussion of Segovia’s suitability will take place in executive session on Wednesday, May 15, while a briefing on the stalled negotiations with the San Antonio Professional Fire Fighters Association has been added to the agenda for Thursday, May 16.

The agendas for both meetings had been updated as of Friday afternoon.


The current drama sprung from council members’ frustration at Wednesday’s meeting when Mayor Ron Nirenberg refused to an executive session for a detailed discussion on the ongoing negotiations with the fire union.

The city and SAPFFA’s negotiating teams are still miles apart after eight bargaining sessions, and the unresolved contract is an enormous question mark over the upcoming budget talks. According to city staff’s calculations, the city faces a budget deficit of somewhere between $5 million and $50 million, depending on where a deal shakes out.

Council Members Melissa Cabello Havrda (D6), Marina Alderete Gavito (D7), Marc Whyte (D10), Jalen McKee-Rodriguez (D2), and Teri Castillo (D5) signed a memo to force an executive session discussion on the negotiations, which Cabello Havrda called the “nuclear option.” Under the city charter, three council members have the power to force a city council meeting.

The group said they were fine with discussing the negotiations in public but had been previously told by Segovia that any such talks would have to be held in executive session.

However, they say Segovia blocked their request, with Cabello Havrda reporting that Segovia had told them they would “maybe have a public discussion.”

Frustrated by what they said was the latest in a pattern of issues with Segovia, the same five council members signed another memo to force another discussion – this time on possibly forcing Segovia out.

The council does not have the ability to fire Segovia. That power rests in Walsh’s hands, though the charter says that will be done “with the advice of the Council.”

After the five council members filed their request and held a public news conference on City Hall steps, Segovia issued a statement through a city spokesman that all but accused council members of leaking information on the fire contract.

As City Attorney, I have an ethical duty to maintain the confidentiality of our executive sessions. Based on information that was relayed to me, I have no confidence that what is said there with respect to the collective bargaining agreement – the City’s second largest contract – will remain confidential.

Andy Segovia, San Antonio City Attorney

Segovia did not specify whom he suspected of leaking information or what evidence he had.

KSAT requested an interview with Segovia on Friday to discuss his statement. However, a city spokesman said Segovia would not be providing interviews until after Walsh meets with council next week.

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