Houston City Council member claims mayor had personal vendetta against firefighters

Rare is the meeting of Houston City Council when Mayor Sylvester Turner and at-large Member Michael Kubosh fail to clash. Wednesday was no different.

“Councilmember, I'm just asking you to do your job”, said Turner.

“I'm doing my job by confronting you,” responded Kubosh.

After Mayor Sylvester Turner led the effort to lay-off 220 current Firefighters and 47 municipal workers to fill what he's called a $20 million hole in the City's budget, Kubosh responded over the Radio 950 airwaves with a revelation of alleged retribution.

Kubosh says back in 2016, during a private City Hall meeting with the Mayor, Turner promised to punish Houston Firefighters for pushing back on his pension reform proposal.

“He made a statement that if the firefighters fight him on this pension reform in Austin, he would see to it that they got the worst deal possible,” said Kubosh in an interview with Fox 26.

Kubosh says he's kept that statement from Turner confidential ever since, but decided to disclose after the Mayor's successful push to terminate scores of firefighters for the first time in the City's history.

“It’s the truth. There's at least one other councilmember who recalls it happening. And I'm not going to stand down, that's exactly what he said and he's living up to that statement that he made,” said Kubosh.

Turns out that Council Member was Steve Le.

Speaking with Fox 26, Le confirmed both the meeting and Kubosh's account of Mayor Turner's 2016 statement regarding the firefighters.

Both Le and Kubosh voted against the lay-offs.

The Mayor and the firefighters union will resume court ordered mediation next week.

A spokesperson for Mayor Turner responded to Fox 26’s request for comment.

“The council member’s statement is utterly false. He is making the assertion more than two years after pension reform.

After pension reform and before Proposition B, the mayor offered the fire union a 9.5%  pay raise over three years. While the fire union rejected the offer, Mayor Turner’s offer was more generous than any offer made by prior mayoral administrations and was more favorable than the pay raises negotiated with the municipal employees’ union and the police officers’ union in the same year.

“I believe the public will see through the council member’s antics and focus on issues that unite, rather than divide our city.”