City of Houston

City Council Approves Putting Police And Firefighters Pay Parity Item on November Ballot

Mayor Turner, who opposes the pay parity because he considers the City can’t afford it, will hold town hall meetings on the item

 

The Houston City Council unanimously approved Wednesday placing an item on the November 6 ballot that will present Houstonians with a choice to support or reject pay parity between police officers and firefighters.

The ballot initiative would give firefighters a single-year pay raise of 25 percent, at a cost of $98 million a year.

“And if by chance police, which are at the table right now asking for a pay raise, if they get one dime, that $98 million goes up,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. The mayor, who opposes the pay parity amendment, said the city could not afford such an increase without gutting its workforce and city services. He said he will hold town hall meetings on the item in all the City Council districts before the election in order to make his point.

District E Council Member Dave Martin echoed Turner’s message. He spoke directly to city employees other than firefighters. “A 25 percent salary increase has a dramatic effect on your pension, which we’ve worked the last two years to get under control,” Martin said.

In a recent interview with Houston Matters, Turner argued that the pay parity the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association (HPFFA) demands isn’t logical because the functionalities of the Police and Fire Departments are not the same.

HPFFA President Patrick M. ‘Marty’ Lancton said in statement they are “grateful that the City Council members were led by their conscience and their ministerial duty, and not by political arm-twisting.”

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