The Firefighters Association said civil service rules would give them the assurance that they will be treated fairly in promotions and discipline. City leaders, on the other hand, argued that it would cost more and do nothing to improve services.
The debate was at times heated, but Leander voters rejected civil service by a wide margin.
Now city leaders are ready to patch up their differences with the fire department.
"We're going to continue to try to make progress with the fire association and see if we can't come to some type of compromise," Leander Mayor Christopher Fielder said.
"They brought up some concerns and I think that we need to sit down and talk about those concerns,” said Jason Dishough, a city councilman.
Leander city leaders say Saturday's vote on the civil service issue likely does not settle the matter permanently. They expect the firefighters association to try to get it on the ballot again in 2014.
In other election results, Leander voters said they like the direction their fast-growing town is headed, awarding all the incumbents on the ballot with new terms.
"I feel that the council that's in place right now is doing a very good job creating the infrastructure, looking towards the future," Councilman Simon Garcia said.
Andrea Navarrette won a fourth city council term.
"I'm going to keep doing what we've been doing,” Navarrette said. “Honesty, integrity you know, pushing the city forward."
Leander's mayor said the outcome shows voters share the council’s vision for the city.
"I'm only as strong as my council behind me,” Fielder said. “And we have a great council and it's great to see that the citizens have continued to keep them in place.”
The only contested school board race pitted long time incumbent Pamela Waggoner against businessman Jim MacKay.
He ran on a campaign highlighting the school district’s debt burden and lack of transparency, but despite losing, he says some goals were accomplished
"We wanted to bring enough visibility to those issues that they will not go away," MacKay said.
For now, the vote shows residents likes things the way they are.
Leander city leaders say Saturday's vote on the civil service issue does not settle the issue permanently.
They expect the firefighters association will try to get it on the ballot again in 2014.