High-Profile Lawyer Joins Houston Firefighters In Dispute Over Pay Parity With Police

Houston attorney Tony Buzbee says he wants mediation with Mayor Sylvester Turner’s administration.

Houston attorney Tony Buzbee says mediation would save hundreds of thousands of dollars in the firefighters pay parity dispute.

Tony Buzbee may be a well-known trial lawyer, but when it comes to the issue of pay parity between firefighters and police, he wants to see it resolved outside of court.

"What I would try to do is start a dialogue to get other leaders in this community engaged to have a discussion with the mayor and whomever he designates to try to resolve this dispute," Buzbee, who recently announced his intent to run for Houston mayor next year, said at a press conference.

For now, a judge has halted the pay parity measure voters approved in the last election, pending litigation.

The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association is facing a lawsuit from the Houston Police Officers Union. It alleges if the city has to pay firefighters the same as police, the police union's own negotiating power will be limited.

A hearing is set for Friday, which Buzbee said he won’t be part of.

In a statement, Mayor Sylvester Turner said any salary negotiations are "nothing more than a distraction and an attempt to confuse the issue" and that the court will ultimately decide whether the measure is unconstitutional.

This story has been updated for clarity.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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