Firefighters won a major battle this week in their push for new employment protections they say are necessary as Leander continues to see explosive growth. Despite unanimously opposing the proposed civil service rules for the fire and police departments, the City Council was forced Thursday to put them on May’s ballot.
City officials have said the rules — which establish hiring, firing and promotion criteria for the departments — would cost the city up to $1 million a year to implement. The measure would require the city to give employees more vacation and sick leave and designate a civil service director. It would also lead to higher legal fees, city officials argue, since the rules would allow police and firefighters to appeal discipline handed down by the chiefs of their departments.
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Also on the ballot
Leander’s May ballot will include one contested City Council race between Council Member Simon Garcia and challenger Jerry Perez, a longtime resident who lost a bid to unseat Council Member Michell Cantwell last year. Eight city charter amendments are also on the ballot, including one that would create a board selection committee to make recommendations to the City Council for appointments.