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Southlake chamber opposes civil service for police, firefighters

SOUTHLAKE -- The Southlake Chamber of Commerce emerged Wednesday as the latest group to oppose a May 10 ballot proposition that would place the city's police officers and firefighters under the state civil service system.

The chamber's announcement came a day before Thursday's forum hosted by the Southlake Police Officers Association and Southlake Firefighters Association to address residents' concerns with civil service.

If voters approve the proposition, a three-member commission of residents would be created to oversee hiring, disciplinary and termination matters for police and firefighters. The civil service system would also set standards for salary, leave and other personnel matters.

Supporters say the measure would bring professionalism, integrity and accountability to the city's Department of Public Safety.

The chamber's resolution states that civil service will increase the city's costs without any community or employee benefit. The city could have to pay for hearing examiners, attorneys and arbitrators as required under civil service law, the chamber says. The chamber also opposes the measure because it takes authority away from police chiefs and fire chiefs on discipline, hiring and other matters.

The chamber's board of directors passed its resolution a week ago, said Giovanna Phillips, president of the chamber.

"We support our local government and local government control," Phillips said Wednesday.

The City Council also opposes the ballot question.