As first reported by FOX 26, the paychecks of Houston Police will soon be more plentiful. The officer’s union has agreed with the City it serves to a 7 percent raise over two years.
"We are right in the market where we need to be to be able to compete with these other cities to get quality police officers," said Joe Gamaldi, HPD Union President.
The deal comes amid multiple warnings from Mayor Sylvester Turner that the substantially larger pay hike sought by firefighters at the ballot box will lead to hundreds of lay-offs and a drastic reduction in City services.
Firefighter Union President Marty Lancton says he welcomes higher pay for HPD.
"It's reassuring that the Mayor is now apparently found the money. We are asking that the Mayor value the sacrifices and services of the brave Houston firefighters just as they do and deservedly so, the brave men and women of the Houston Fire Department," said Lancton.
Lancton says police have now received a 37 percent raise over the last decade, while his members have received a single 3 percent hike.
Lancton went on to insist the oft repeated claim by the Mayor that Firefighters turned down a 9.5 percent raise is, in his words, "categorically false"
"When the Mayor goes out to the public and doesn't tell the truth, I think it's absolutely harmful to the citizens of Houston, going out there and spreading these types of lies," said Lancton.
With its raise firmly in the books, the Police Union is very publicly siding with the City's boss.
"Jeez, I've even seen the Mayor offer the 9.5 percent raise on Twitter and they still have not accepted it, so please, stop with the 'It's never been offered'. It's been offered plenty of times. They just don't want to accept it," said Gamaldi.
Mayor Turner offered FOX 26 the following statement:
“Over the past several months, the city has been negotiating an employee contract with the police bargaining unit, HPOU. The current contract is scheduled to expire at the end of the year. The city has tentatively reached an agreement on all terms including, a 2 year pay raise of 4% the first year and 3% the second year. If the agreement is approved by the police officers and subsequently City Council it will become final.
“This year the city also entered into a 3-year contract with the municipal employees bargaining unit, HOPE, which was ratified by a vote of the employees and City Council. It provides a pay raise in the first year of 3 %, second year of 2 %, and the third year of 1%.
“The firefighters are the only employee group that has chosen not to negotiate a contract with the administration in accordance with the statutorily authored collective bargaining agreement. Rather, they have chosen to ask voters via a referendum to mandate the city to give a pay raise of 25% in the first year, which will cost at a minimum of $98 million each year and which the city cannot afford."