Yesterday, Sheryl Sculley, through her usual mouthpiece on the local paper, attempted yet again to undermine the collective bargaining process between her and the San Antonio firefighters.
This time, the tactic adopted by the City Manager was to attack me personally. She has used this tactic in the past, and will likely do it again over the coming months as we try to engage with the City Manager on a fair and reasonable contract for first responders here in San Antonio. This time, I have been accused of failing to inform the City that my wife was no longer a covered dependent on the City’s health insurance plan, due to our divorce in 2012. The implication is that I and my ex-wife benefited personally from my alleged failure to inform the City. As I will now detail, all of these accusations are completely false.
First, I did notify the City that my wife and I had divorced, and that she would be covered by a different, separate insurance. The City’s own records verify that the City was aware in early 2013 that my ex-wife had her own insurance.
Second, following our divorce, my ex-wife did not make a single claim on the City’s health insurance and the City did not spend a single penny on covering any of her health care issues.
Third, we have documented proof that the City has lost private, personal information regarding health insurance coverage that fire fighters have previously provided to the City. The City has failed to even acknowledge that it has lost these important records in the past, much less develop a plan to secure these documents for the future. For this reason, the first responders that I represent remain concerned that these important documents will be lost yet again, potentially exposing these men and women and their families to identity theft. We have committed to our members that we will fight to protect their privacy interests and the security of their information.
Finally, with regard to my ex-wife’s dependent coverage, why were these alleged concerns not brought to me personally by my chain of command, the Fire Chief, the City Manager or human resources? Let me be clear: No one from the City has ever contacted me to inquire as to the dependent status of my ex-wife, even though the City has apparently known for some time that we were, in fact, divorced. The answer is simple. The truth would have been a non-story. The fact that I did inform the City, and that the City’s own records verify that it was aware of her separate insurance, would have been a non-story. The fact that my wife never once used a penny of the City’s health insurance monies, would have been a non-story. Moreover, the concocted story placed in the newspaper would further the City Manager's overall strategy to undermine the negotiations process between San Antonio Firefighters and the City. This is a low blow, even for City Manager Sheryl Sculley.
The citizens of this great city deserve to know the truth. My statements today are the truth. I have made every effort over the tenure of my term to administer the duties of my office as President of the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association with the utmost integrity. All that I ask is that the City do the same. Personal attacks do not further the political goals for either side. Stick to the truth, even if doing so denies you the opportunity to write fictitious dramas.
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