Houston Firefighters Union Questions Efficiency Of Mayor’s Proposal To Phase In Pay Raises

Union President Marty Lancton insists layoffs are not necessary.

Houston firefighters union president Patrick ‘Marty’ Lancton (center) speaks at a news conference held in 2017.

The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association is questioning the efficiency of a proposal by Mayor Sylvester Turner to phase in the implementation of pay parity between the local police and fire departments.

Voters approved the proposition last November. It establishes pay parity between the local police and fire departments on a rank-by-rank basis.

On Wednesday, Turner sent a letter to HPFFA President Patrick ‘Marty' Lancton proposing to phase in the voter-mandated raises over a period of five years. The mayor argues the phase-in plan would allow the city to implement the raises without having to lay off firefighters.

"The proposal seems to only offer a portion of the pay and benefits over a five-year period," Lancton said in a letter to Turner and Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña on Thursday.

Lancton asked the mayor whether his plan would implement pay parity "fully" and asks him to clarify how base pay and incentives would be applied.

Turner has repeatedly said layoffs are necessary, unless the union agrees to a five-year implementation of the raises. The union has already rejected a previous phase-in proposal from the city. "They (layoffs) were unnecessary during the Houston Police Department raises. They are unnecessary now," Lancton wrote.

Lancton also said if Turner lays off firefighters he will be "responsible for the consequences of diminished public safety services."

The city is preparing to lay off up to 400 firefighters and up to 100 other municipal workers, in order to fund the voter-mandated raises.

You can read Lancton's letter here:

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