City of Houston

Turner Holds Off On Announcing Layoffs Due To Cost Of Pay Parity Between Police And Fire

The mayor is hoping to block the measure in court, arguing that it violates state law.

Mayor Sylvester Turner
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is holding off on announcing planned citywide layoffs.

Turner has said cutting jobs would be the only way to afford the pay raise for firefighters voters approved on Election Day.

The mayor is hoping to block the measure in court, arguing that it violates state law. After Thanksgiving, City Council will decide whether to approve a contract with law firm Norton Rose Fulbright to pursue the case.

The city controller’s office estimates that raising firefighters’ pay to that of police would cost the city more than $100 million a year.

The mayor says the only way to close that gap will be to cut at least 850 employees – starting with firefighters, but also including police and other municipal workers.

Turner has already enacted a hiring freeze and Fire Chief Samuel Peña has begun making plans to restructure the Fire Department and reduce the number of shifts from four to three.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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