The president of the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association is under fire for wearing a fake firefighter’s uniform -which was nearly identical to that of the SAFD- during a September 20 rally.
SAPFA President Chris Steele wore the fake uniform during a news conference at the Bexar County Democratic Party headquarters, where he announced endorsement of several charter amendments on the November 6 ballot.
During his speech, Steele sought to get the city of San Antonio to drop their lawsuit against an “evergreen clause” in union contract to remain in effect for up to a decade while new terms are negotiated.
“The tactical objective is get the city to drop the lawsuit, get the city to negotiate fairly, because at the end of this when we go to the table, they can do like they did in mediation, they can just jack us around,” Steele said. “The third thing is set it up to where May of 2019, we can put our own guy in the mayor’s office, which would be Greg Brockhouse in the mayor’s office.”
According to the San Antonio Express-News, Steele made the announcements after the Democratic Party of Bexar County announced their support for the union’s amendment proposals.
However, Steele violated policy- the city of San Antonio prohibits its public safety personnel and other employees from wearing their uniforms when participating in political activity.
SAFD Chief Charles Hood denounced Steele for wearing a “fake” uniform that was nearly identical to those worn by SAFD employees.
“I recently issued District Chief Christopher Steele a written reprimand in response to his intentional attempt to circumvent the rules that prohibit wearing an official fire department uniform while participating in political activity,” Hood said a statement obtained by My San Antonio. “It is clear that he went to great lengths to mislead the public by creating and wearing a fake uniform virtually indiscernible from the department’s standard issue uniforms during a political endorsement on Sept. 20.”
Steele has not responded to comment on the matter.
The union president has been reprimanded in the past for wearing uniforms at political events, which likely prompted him to design a near-identical mock uniform.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg called Steele a “total fraud” for wearing the mock uniform at the political news conference.
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