SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — The San Marcos City Council voted 4-3 Tuesday night to repeal an agreement it approved in September with San Marcos Police.
According to the Council Agenda, the vote was to repeal the Meet and Confer agreement between the San Marcos Police Officers’ Association and the City of San Marcos.
The city will now have 120 days to negotiate a new deal with police.
According to city paperwork filed in September, “Meet and Confer is a process designed to allow police and fire associations and management an opportunity to understand each other’s interests and reach agreement on important employment issues. The enabling statute outlines specific areas of discussion for this process which include wages, rates of pay, hours of work and working conditions.”
The three-year agreement that was repealed Tuesday night was the fifth such agreement since 2009.
The current agreement started on October 1, 2022 and was supposed to end on September 30, 2025. After the council voted, the agreement will now expire on June 7, 2023 unless the city and police negotiate a deal sooner.
Tuesday’s vote followed a successful November petition calling for the repeal of the Meet and Confer agreement.
The group Mano Amiga, which backed the petition, hailed the vote in an early Wednesday morning press release.
The group wants the city and police union to include the following in any employment agreement:
- Expand timeline for investigating officers for alleged wrongdoing
- End delays for officers under investigation before formal interviewers
- Civil Service Commission instead of a third-party arbitration
- Make documented misconduct more transparent
- End vacation forfeiture as a substitute to suspension
“Our team is both shocked and thrilled with the results of this evening’s vote, but I think it speaks to just how reasonable our demands are. We’ve spent the last six months educating our community about what the demands mean and the role they’ve played in allowing cops to evade discipline when they inflict violence upon our neighbors,” said Sam Benavides, Communications Director with Mano Amiga Safety in the press release.
Mano Amiga calls the demands the 5 Hartman Reforms, which refers to former San Marcos Police Sgt. Ryan Hartman. The group said the current contract fails to incorporate the demands.
In June 2020, Hartman was involved in a crash that killed a woman while he was off-duty, KXAN previously reported. He was later fired from the department related to that case in January 2022.
On June 24, 2022, the San Marcos police chief requested the Texas Rangers conduct an investigation into Hartman and his use of a stun gun on a resident in January 2021.
Records showed the citizen filed a lawsuit against Hartman on June 14. The complaint said Hartman was “not qualified to be a police officer, much less a police supervisor.”
The complaint claimed Hartman violated the citizen’s civil rights, and the City of San Marcos failed to supervise Hartman.
According to the complaint, the citizen seeks recovery for all damages, including physical pain and past and future mental anguish from the trauma, as well as for attorney’s fees, expenses and costs.
Hartman was put on a week-long suspension related to the response in July 2021. According to records, the suspension resulted from rules and provisions he reportedly violated in the San Marcos Policy Manual.
“You used force that was unnecessary and unreasonable, and you failed to provide notice to the suspect that you were going to use such force,” the July 2021 suspension document said. “There were no reasonable circumstances justifying such force.”
Members of Mano Amiga Safety said they are prepared to continue mobilizing community members to attend contract negotiations and try to ensure each of the 5 Hartman Reforms are implemented.
“Our team is both shocked and thrilled with the results of this evening’s vote, but I think it speaks to just how reasonable our demands are. We’ve spent the last six months educating our community about what the demands mean and the role they’ve played in allowing cops to evade discipline when they inflict violence upon our neighbors,” said Sam Benavides, Communications Director with Mano Amiga Safety.