Council members, mayor clash over Proposition B legal action

HOUSTON (FOX 26) — Several angry Houston City Council members say they want no part of Mayor Sylvester Turner's ongoing legal battle with the firefighters union over voter-approved pay parity.

The reaction came after lawyers for the City of Houston filed legal action on Monday on behalf of the entire council without telling members.

The President's Day filing is just the city's latest effort to overturn Proposition B and ask the court to rule against the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, which is seeking implementation of the measure that gives its members pay equal to Houston Police Department officers.

After learning of the legal motion, FOX 26 News contacted multiple council members. None had been informed of its filing.

While all council members were named as defendants in the original litigation, several are actually supporting the firefighters union and pay parity while opposing Mayor Turner's effort to overturn the $100 million per year voter-approved initiative through the courts.

Council members Dwight Boykins and Michael Kubosh are asking the Houston City Attorney to remove their names from the legal motion.

"They put me in there and I have opposed every move by the administration that's holding up Prop B implementation," said Council Member Boykins. "That tells you right there was zero communication."

Boykins has issued a letter to City Attorney Ron Lewis declaring his intention to retain his own lawyer on the issue.

"This all happened without my knowledge," said Council Member Kubosh. "I've talked to other council members and I haven't heard that any of them knew of it coming and this is an embarrassment, that my name is in a filing to disallow a vote of the people that voted for Prop B. I want my name taken off that filing. I want an apology from the City Attorney for putting my name on that document."

In a brief exchange, Mayor Turner was critical of FOX 26's intention to report the failure to notify council members. The Mayor contends council members have been aware of developments related to the litigation with the HPFFA.

Turner’s press secretary Mary Benton said the City Attorney’s Office informed all members of city council on Jan. 28.

Council Member Jack Christie disagreed with Turner's assessment.

"It's a train wreck now," said Christie, who reported he too may ask the the City Attorney to remove his name from the motion. "I'm not into lawsuits. I don't like to sue people. I like to sit down and talk to them and work it out."