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Firefighters vote to work against Prop A

Monday, October 4, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Expressing concern about the negative impact Proposition A would have on firefighters and other city employees, the Austin Firefighters Association has voted to campaign against the ballot measure backed by Save Austin Now. Bob Nicks, president of AFA, announced Friday that 57 percent of union members voted to oppose the Nov. 2 ballot measure. If enacted, Prop A would require the city to spend from $54 million-$119 million more on police officers each year, according to Austin’s Chief Financial Officer Ed Van Eenoo. Nicks said the union would spend $15,000 in an independent effort to stop Prop A. According to the AFA website, “Firefighters love and support our police officers, but don’t be misled. Thanks to current state law, APD is already ‘fully funded’ with an additional $10 million …. If passed, Prop A will have a negative impact on public safety, including Fire and EMS … and it will harm other essential community and city services like our parks, libraries, and pools.”

Nicks noted that every public safety department within the city is currently understaffed because of delays in recruiting, hiring and academy approvals. Leaders of AFSCME, the union representing civilian employees, had already announced opposition to Prop A, but Nicks made clear his union was campaigning separately as opposed to joining forces with other opponents. According to weekend news reports, liberal billionaire philanthropist George Soros has donated $500,000 to Equity PAC, AFSCME’s political action committee, to oppose Proposition A. The outspoken leader of Save Austin Now, Matt Mackowiak, is a Republican consultant who serves as chair of the Travis County Republican Party. Groups opposing Prop A include the Travis County Democratic Party, the Austin Justice Coalition, the Texas Civil Rights Project, the Austin Area Urban League and the Austin Sierra Club, among others.

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