Politics

Firefighters Union Calls For No-Confidence Vote In Chief Peña

The vote can’t remove Samuel Peña, who holds his position by mayoral appointment, but could serve to embarrass the mayor during his reelection campaign.

Tony Blakeney
Troy Blakeney, attorney for the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association

The vast majority of Houston’s district fire chiefs are calling for a vote of no-confidence in the head of the Houston Fire Department. The move may be symbolic, but could mobilize opposition to the mayor as he runs for reelection.

Nearly all district chiefs signed the letter to firefighter union president Marty Lancton calling for the no-confidence vote. The letter cites budget cuts and deteriorating working conditions since Samuel Peña started as chief almost three years ago. 

“It is a very unusual step,” says Troy Blakeney, an attorney for the union. “It is not personal in any nature. It’s performance-based 100%. That is, do they feel that they have the management and the leadership through the fire chief of which they think is needed for this department to move forward?”

Firefighter union members are expected to vote next week.

Mayor Sylvester Turner, who appointed the chief, said in a statement that he has every confidence in Peña and considers the union’s move “100% political.”

District chief Mo Davis said nothing could be further from the truth. “This is political suicide for Mo Davis,” he said. “I will never go beyond where I’m at, and I’ll probably be transferred downtown for this, but I’m OK with it, because I don’t want one person to die because we’re not prepared in hurricane season.”

Davis spoke at the Houston firefighters’ union headquarters, which was covered with posters endorsing Dwight Boykins for mayor.

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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 Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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