During Thursday's Austin City Council meeting, Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday signed up to speak on an unrelated fiscal item. “I’m sure that the money being spent on this is well worth it. But I want everybody on the council to know that we've been waiting over 290 days to sit back down and work out our labor contract,” Casaday told Council.
Casaday pointed out the Council managed to work out a deal for a Major League Soccer stadium but not the police contract. “It’s unacceptable and I had 300 officers in my hall yesterday pissed off that we have not sat down to go over our contract. We’ve been waiting and there's nothing but foot dragging and a waste of time by this Council, we need to get back and get this contract done immediately."
Council Member Jimmy Flannigan chimed in resulting in Casaday shouting at Flannigan as the Mayor urged him to stop. Thursday, the Austin Police Association sent FOX 7 a statement:
“We are very soon going to get the recommendations from the manager to the council, the staff and the union negotiators will come back to the table and I think we'll be able to button this thing down in maybe 4 to 6 weeks is my hope,” Flannigan told me Thursday afternoon.
I asked Flannigan why he stepped in after Casaday spoke. “We offered the Police Association in December, we said ‘look this deal doesn't work but let's at least extend the prior deal, the one you've described as the Cadillac plan, let's extend that while we figure out what the future looks like’ and the Union wouldn't even come to the table over it. So the Union doesn't agree that that's what happened but that is what happened,” Flannigan said.
And about that exchange... “It’s unforunate that Mr. Casaday felt that he needed to shout down elected officials in that moment. We’re all trying to get to the same place here and I really hope that the union members take a long hard look at who their leadership is and if that's who they really want representing them to their council members,” Flannigan said.