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Firefighters Union Tries To Make Sure Item For Equal Pay As HPD Is On November Ballot

The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association is trying to make sure the November ballot includes an item about equal pay between firefighters and police officers of corresponding rank, but City protocols are becoming a worrying hurdle for the union. Back in July, the firefighters union turned in 32,000 signatures that they say even include voter […]

HPFFA president Marty Lancton at the podium at Houston Fire Department press conference Monday morning, July 17, 2017.

The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association is trying to make sure the November ballot includes an item about equal pay between firefighters and police officers of corresponding rank, but City protocols are becoming a worrying hurdle for the union.

Back in July, the firefighters union turned in 32,000 signatures that they say even include voter ID numbers.

Those signatures support a petition for the ballot to present to Houstonians an item about whether there should be equal pay between firefighters and police officers.

"We have been in contact with many Council Members who’ve expressed their support," said union president Marty Lancton during a press conference held on the entrance to the City Hall Annex building in downtown Houston.

"This is about democracy," Lancton added.

The problem for the union is that Anna Russell, the City's Secretary, is in charge of verifying that their petition has enough valid signatures.

Before she does that, Russell says she must check the signatures for another petition, which was submitted earlier in April regarding the establishment of pensions similar to 401(k)s for City employees that were hired starting next year.

David Feldman, the lawyer representing the union, says that means the City might run out of time.

"If we’re talking about getting this on the November 2017 ballot, an election order has to be issued by the 21st of August," Feldman noted during the press conference.

A statement from the office of Mayor Sylvester Turner says Russell is following "her normal process."

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