HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Today, 67 Houston fire fighter cadets received a 60 day lay off notice as the City begins to implement Proposition B. Mayor Sylvester Turner stated in a tweet that there’s still hope, and is asking residents to sign his petition where voters can approve firefighter pay raises in a way that minimizes layoffs.
“This is sad, this is a sad day for the fourth largest city, and this is not a world-class city. This mayor needs to take his own advice, his own notice, he needs to lay himself off," said Marty Lancton, President of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association.
Words of frustration come from the union president who has been fighting for equal pay, and for all fire fighters he represents to keep their jobs, against Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner who said parity comes with a price tag the city can’t afford.
Part of the notice sent out to those employees said:
“I want to assure you that the elimination of your position was a business decision and does not reflect your work performance or the value we place on your service to the City. To balance our budget, we were forced to make extremely difficult decisions.”
Lancton says from the beginning there was a lack of transparency with the Mayor saying that “he refuses to open the financial books of the city, he refuses to except the firefighters offer of a three-year proposal saving the city $120 million.”
Mayor Turner released a statement, part of it saying the City asked Lancton to:
“...phase in Prop B over five years to avoid any layoffs of firefighters and municipal workers. He refused and is demanding the immediate implementation of Prop B. The City is doing precisely that, but it will require layoffs to balance the city’s budget.”
The cadets' last day of employment is June 7th. Lancton says it’s something they will continue to fight.
“We take care of our own, we take care of the families, we’re going to continue to fight not only for the brave men and women that go out there every day and put their lives on the line, but from cowards like Mayor Turner.“
Mayor Turner’s statement also said that next week, 47 municipal employees will receive lay-off notices, and on April 17th, City Council will vote on layoffs of first responders.