Weslaco City Officials at Odds with Police and Firefighter Unions
POSTED: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 9:11am
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 7:04am
WESLACO - Following a week of controversy in Weslaco, city officials say, they're now looking at police and firefighters union in a different light.
Chief of Police Juan Sifuentes came under fire last week after a local police union accused him of inappropriate behavior during a bank robbery. The chief was cleared of any wrong doing this past Friday and less than a week ago the Weslaco firefighters union placed a billboard, along Expressway 83, slamming the mayor and city commission. The city called the sign disrespectful and disappointing, in fact, they're now questioning the need for unions in the city.
City Manager Leo Olivares says times have changed over the last 20 years and the unions should be more thankful. He stated, "Our police and fire are no longer on welfare, they're one of the highest paid employees in the city. They are also well compensated in terms of the labor market here in the Valley, but what has happened is that we've traded in one problem for another one which is we have a bureaucracy with the unions and we have an additional costs with administrating those contracts."
The city has finished it's first round of negotiations with the police union with positive results and talks with the firefighters union are still underway.