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City of Houston

UPDATE: Houston Firefighters Union To Meet With Mayor Turner To Parley Over Prop B

The union is also seeking a court order “compelling the city to begin paying firefighters equally with police officers on a rank-by-rank basis.”

Fire trucks
Photo, taken across the street from Houston City Hall, August 8, 2018

Mayor Sylvester Turner has scheduled a public meeting tomorrow, Wednesday January 16, with the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association (HPFFA). The mayor wants to discuss the union's ideas on how to implement voter mandated pay raises without busting the budget and the union has accepted his proposal to meet.

Mayor Turner sent an open letter to firefighters' union president Patrick M. “Marty” Lancton last week, inviting him to discuss the union's ideas for implementing Proposition B. That's the ballot measure that requires firefighters get the same pay as police of similar ranks.

On Tuesday afternoon, Lancton said he wrote back a series of questions, but had yet to receive any answers. "And what we asked was, ‘Will you bring your own solutions, not simply demand that us or the people in the community not only negotiate against each other or we with ourselves?'" Lancton says. "That's not constructive."

Lancton also asked whether the mayor would cease threatening to lay off workers. Both Mayor Turner and City Controller Chris Brown say the only way the city can afford the firefighters' raises is by laying off hundreds of city workers – including firefighters.

Later on Tuesday afternoon, the firefighters union said in a statement that Lancton and union attorney Troy Blakeney will meet with Mayor Turner Wednesday “to discuss implementation of Prop B and settlement of the City’s pending lawsuit against firefighters.”

In the statement, the union also announced it is seeking a court order “compelling the city to begin paying firefighters equally with police officers on a rank-by-rank basis.”

In a letter sent to Ron Lewis, the City of Houston’s Attorney, Blakeney wrote: “It is not our intent to have another public debate between Mayor Turner and HPFFA President Lancton” and added the union looks forward to “gaining a better understanding of the City of Houston’s proposals and options for implementing Prop B and discussing a possible resolution of the legal actions concerning this matter.”

Note: The meeting will take place at the Houston City Hall Annex at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. It is open to the public, but seating is limited.

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