HOUSTON (FOX 26) - It would have been a high stakes vote.
The livelihoods of 220 firefighters, 67 cadets and 47 municipal workers are on the table.
But the council's decision on proposed layoffs was delayed yet another week as contentious talks between Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Firefighters Union continue.
In the interim, Turner rejected pleas from council members Brenda Stardig and Steve Le to bring in a mediator to settle differences.
"There is no reason for further delays by putting in another third party," said Turner.
The mayor and his allies continued to claim the only way to avoid layoffs and fund pay parity is for firefighters to phase in their voter approved raise over five years.
"Vote for five and keep jobs alive," urged Council Member Ellen Cohen.
The union has countered with three and half years and on condition, firefighter layoffs are off the table and the Mmyor keep his pledge of complete financial transparency.
Union Chief Marty Lancton says the transparency promise remains unfulfilled, telling Turner in a letter today that information disclosed thus far "answered none of our pending questions."
Meantime, the mayor insisted the city is still in a "hiring freeze," despite the revelation that 602 new employees have joined the municipal workforce since November.
"When people leave because of retirement or they leave because they are taking another job, those positions themselves are being back-filled," said Turner.
And then there's that eye-catching $2.8 million cost placed by the city on a public information request issued by mayoral opponent Bill King.
Turner calls the effort to review thousands of city payments under $50,000 "bogus" and considers the price tag for retrieving a half million documents appropriate.
"This is the campaign season. The silly season. People are going to say whatever they can to get headlines and get your attention," said Turner.