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Council should approve police contract deal

This file photo shows city negotiators Jeff Londa (left), Bettye Lynn (2nd left) , Michael Bernard (2nd right) and Buddy Morris (right) looking over a contract proposal from the San Antonio Police Officers Association. The mediated agreement isn’t perfect, but it is good enough. Photo: Robin Jerstad /San Antonio Express-News

Original Source: www.mysanantonio.com

The police contract pending before the City Council is far from perfect, and we would have preferred a deal that extracted more concessions from the police union.

But despite the flaws in the mediated settlement, the contract makes significant financial progress that will help keep San Antonio fiscally sound. And the 11th-hour complaints raised about the lack of police reforms are not enough to override the progress made in the deal.

Officers finally will begin shouldering a more reasonable amount of their health care costs. This is the most significant part of the mediated deal. Continuing the current excessively rich health care benefits for police officers likely would push the city budget so far out of balance that other basic services would have to be cut or tax increases would be required.

When negotiations began more than two years ago, reining in health care costs was universally cited as the city’s top priority. City Manager Sheryl Sculley has estimated that the mediated deal avoids $87.5 million in health care costs for the city over five years.

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