Officer Matthew Luckhurst (SBG Photo)
On Friday, June 19, 2020, an arbitrator upheld San Antonio Police Chief William McManus’ second termination of former SAPD Officer Matthew Luckhurst. The former police officer was initially fired, or indefinitely suspended, for placing a feces sandwich in a food container and giving it to a homeless man. However, Luckhurst appealed to an arbitrator, and under a provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement with police union, he was reinstated by claiming that the incident occurred more than 180 days before the suspension was issued.
Luckhurst received a second suspension for a separate incident when he purposely failed to flush feces in the toilet in the Downtown Bike Patrol women’s restroom. On the same occasion, he spread a brown tapioca-like substance on the toilet seat to give the appearance of feces. By his own admission, he took these actions because a female officer had placed a sign in the room requesting that it be kept clean. Hearing Examiner Thomas Cipolla found that Chief McManus’ decision to terminate Luckhurst’s employment was warranted due to the egregious nature of Luckhurst’s conduct aimed at women.
“This individual clearly has no business wearing an SAPD uniform, and it should never have been this hard to fire him,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “I am pleased that this is behind us, but the contract provision that gave him more chances than he deserved remains an obstacle to the Chief’s ability to discipline officers who fail to live up to SAPD’s standards.” “The vast majority of our officers respect their oaths to serve the community, and they resent it when individuals like Luckhurst discredit the badge,” said Chief McManus. “For both the department and the community, it was critically important that he not be allowed to have his job back. Although the limits imposed on me by the Collective Bargaining Agreement made firing him more difficult than it should have been, justice was finally served in this case.”
San Antonio: America’s 21st Century City
San Antonio is a global city with a dynamic economy and workforce, deep cultural heritage and diverse communities that are resilient and welcoming. It is one of the strongest fiscally managed cities in the country, nurturing entrepreneurship, encouraging investment and funding infrastructure. America’s seventh-largest city offers a vibrant business climate and growth opportunities in bioscience, financial services, aerospace, cyber security, energy, transportation, manufacturing and healthcare. In 2015, UNESCO designated San Antonio’s 18th century Spanish colonial missions as a World Heritage Site – the first in Texas. Proudly called Military City, USAR, San Antonio is home to one of the largest populations of active duty military, veterans and crucial military commands. For more information, visitwww.sanantonio.gov<http://www.sanantonio.gov>.
SA MLK DAY 2021
The legacy and homage to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived on, however, the traditional celebrations and one of the largest marches in the country was reimagined this year due to COVID concerns. San Antonio city officials and the MLK, Jr., Commission had the public’s best interest in hand and held a commemorative virtual march.
This year marked the 53rd anniversary of the first March for Justice in San Antonio. The march that San Antonio participants know and observer well was organized by the late Rev. Dr. Raymond “R.A.” Callies, Sr., a San Antonio teacher and pastor. He began the March in 1968 as a call to bring awareness to the need for basic infrastructure on the east side. His efforts have resulted in what has became one of if not the largest MLK march in the US, hosting over 300,000 participants of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and creed.
The commemorative virtual march kicked-off with a premiere of native San Antonian and accomplished filmmaker Ya’ke Smith’s Dream: Rising Up For Justice film. The film celebrated organizers, community leaders, past marches, and featured musical performances. The premiere aired on News4SA, and the city’s TVSA.
Around town caravans, neighborhood marches, and a few community block parties took place with COVID safety measures in order. Many still wanted to honor Dr. King’s legacy by celebrating with family, friends, and neighbors to carry out his message of unity and building better communities while echoing the continued push for justice and equality for all.
MLK Day 2021 was not shuttered. One march didn’t stop the show. As the opening words of the film read and reminded us… “The Dream Continues!”
City Seeks Applicants For SA: Ready To Work Advisory Board
The City of San Antonio is accepting applications for the SA: Ready to Work Advisory Board.
In November, San Antonio voters overwhelmingly approved SA: Ready to Work, a training and education initiative to assist San Antonio residents impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Last week, City Council approved the creation of a nine-member SA: Ready to Work Advisory Board to provide feedback on program objectives.
“During the campaign this fall, voters asked how this initiative would incorporate diverse community feedback and remain aligned with business and resident needs. The timely creation of this board establishes a transparent and inclusive process from the start as City Council considers the various policies associated with this workforce and training initiative,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “I encourage employers, participants and stakeholder organizations interested in playing a role in this important initiative to apply to serve.”
This Board will consist of representatives from four local employers with in-demand occupations, two current/previous participants in the City of San Antonio workforce development programs, one trade or labor organization, one community organization, and one workforce training provider. In additional, two City Council members appointed by the Mayor will serve as liaisons to this Advisory Board.
Applications for the Advisory Board positions can be found at the City of San Antonio’s Board and Commissions website (https://www.sanantonio.gov/Clerk/Legislative/BoardsCommissions#13319780-apply-for-a-board). Applications will be reviewed for eligibility beginning in mid-January and forward to City Council for review and potential appointment. Potential applicants are asked to consider that no appointed members of this Advisory Board may have direct relationships with entities that contract with the City for implementation of the SA Ready to Work program.
SA: Ready to Work will be tax supported through a 1/8th cent sales tax. This education and workforce program would begin serving San Antonio residents in fall 2021 and extend through December 2025. Each year of the initiative, up to 10,000 residents will be served with a total of up to 40,000 residents served over the four years.
Open Call: Calling All Artists
The City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture’s Public Art Division is seeking applicants for the 2021 Public Art Pre-Qualified List for Artists and Support Services.
The Pre-Qualified List works as a roster of emerging and experienced individuals and organizations who are pre-qualified by City Council to work on designing, building, and promoting future projects within the Department of Arts & Culture’s Public Art Program.
We are seeking professional qualifications from area, state, national, and international artists and arts organizations as well as individuals and businesses that provide support services including, but not limited to, consulting, curating, writing, project management, art history, art handling and shipping, art appraising, restoring and conserving art, art fabrication and installation, photo and video documentation, graphic and web-based design, and technical design.
· Deadline to Apply: January 18, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. CT
· Optional Virtual Informational Workshop: December 8, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. CT.
All Open Call details and application instructions can be found at http://www.sanantonio.gov/arts/open
Applying for the Pre-Qualified List allows applicants to be selected for future projects, inclusion does not guarantee selection for a public art contract.
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