HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Houston City Council voted 10-6 on Wednesday to layoff 220 firefighters and more than 40 municipal workers in order to fund voter approved pay parity between firefighters and police.
Court ordered mediation began Monday afternoon between the city and the police and firefighters unions and continued Tuesday. No resolution was reached.
The mediation was the latest attempt to come to an agreement on a timeline for phasing in voter-mandated firefighter pay raises, which were supposed to have gone into effect last November.
Mayoral candidate Bill King released the following statement on Wednesday in response to the vote:
Sylvester Turner's manufactured crisis has reached a new low with his decision to lay off 220 firefighters. I cannot recall an occasion when any mayor of Houston has ever laid off any public safety workers - even in the depths of the financial crisis when Mayor Parker had to lay off 700 municipal workers, she protected public safety.
What's more disturbing is these layoffs come on the heels of an explosive Houston Chronicle story reporting that Sylvester Turner has hired nearly 900 new employees, including three communications executives in the mayor's office. His reactions to Proposition B are a disgrace and clearly disqualify him from re-election.