HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Houston City Council members plan to hold an event Monday pushing for a phase-in of higher firefighter salaries to avoid layoffs.
The controversy continues as council members plan to hold an 11:30 a.m. press conference at City Hall Monday, pushing for a five-year pay-parity phase-in.
Earlier this month, Mayor Turner offered a 3.5 year phase-in with some layoffs. The firefighters union president told FOX 26 on Sunday the firefighters union agreed to that timeline with some exceptions, but it is not required to phase anything in.
"By law, firefighters are not required to phase anything in," said Marty Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association. "Firefighters have been sued and the mayor has manufactured this crisis. Firefighters after being sued are still willing to work with the city to resolve this but facts matter."
FOX 26 decided to poll Houstonians to see how much they know about Prop B and what their opinions are. Some weren't familiar with it. Others had strong opinions.
"I think that they are entitled to a pay increase," said Matthew Gill. "They put their lives on the line everyday."
The city says the only way to avoid layoffs is to implement the pay raises over a five-year period.
Lancton says the firefighter union agreed to the mayor's three-and-a-half year pay-raise phase-in offer on a condition of no firefighter layoffs and complete financial transparency by the mayor.
"I think a lot of people are surprised and upset with how much it's gonna cost, hearing that firefighters are going to get laid off right out of the academy," said Simon Mumford.
"I do like the idea of them getting paid more, but if you're gonna take more firefighters off the streets, at the end I think it's really about the lives that they're out there saving," said Felix Galindo.
"Yes, I do agree that it should have been left up to the voters," said Gill.
"I'm not really happy with what my vote turned out to be, 'cause I have more information now than I did at the time," said Mumford, adding he would not vote for Prop B if he had a second chance.
Last Thursday a judge ordered mediation between the City of Houston and the police and firefights unions.