HOUSTON (FOX 26) - The layoff notices for 220 Houston firefighters have been sent off.
It was voted last week to allow the fire department to make layoffs as a result of Proposition B.
Both the city council and firefighters are in court-ordered mediation to discuss how to implement what’s being referred to as a pay parity. It has been voted upon, but not yet implemented.
Mayor Sylvester Turner says layoffs are necessary to give the firefighters raises, but the union disputes that claim.
Chief Sam Peña released the following statement regarding the layoffs:
The City of Houston has experienced a sizable budget shortfall due to the implementation of Proposition B. Without an agreement to phase-in the cost of $80 to $100 million per year, the city has stated there is no option to balance the budget without a reduction in fire department personnel.
Due to the notification requirement, beginning today firefighters who would be affected by the reduction in force will receive a 60-day layoff notice to be effective June 30, 2019.
This is the most difficult thing I have had to do in my career. No Fire Chief ever wants to be faced with the possibility of firefighter layoffs. I am very concerned with the impact on our employees and my heart aches for the firefighters receiving notices and their families during these uncertain times. I hope that we can reach an agreement with the Fire Union to phase-in the full implementation of Proposition B and avoid the layoffs.