Mayor and firefighters' union meet to discuss Prop B

It appears Houston's mayor and Firefighters' Union are closer to reaching an agreement on implementing Proposition B.

The met on Monday for over an hour. 

The Firefighters' Union says the mayor finally agreed to turn over financial data they've been requesting for a long time. The city's finance director was told to hand over the information within 48 hours.

After Monday's meeting, City Councilman Dwight Boykins called this another sad day in our city because of this needless stalemate. But, Firefighters' Union officials seemed more confident on Monday than the previous week that an agreement could be reached soon.

The question now is, will firefighters get the requested financial data before Wednesday's City Council meeting, when members are expected to vote on possible layoffs?

On Monday morning preceding the meeting, Lancton wrote the following conditions to Mayor Turner:

Dear Mayor Turner,

In the interest of making the most of our meeting later today, I’m forwarding the attached sum
mary of our pending questions about implementing Proposition B to achieve HPD-HFD pay
parity. Please confirm that Director Tantri Emo will be authorized to provide the information re
quested in the attachment.
This letter also reconfirms our willingness to take to our membership your proposal to implement
Proposition B over three and a half years, subject to the following conditions:

1. Any agreement with the City of Houston, subject to the final approval of the HPFFA
membership, would be ratified through a CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement);
2. Based on provision to us by the City of complete access to City financial and budget in
formation, the City will implement complete parity with HPD, including both base pay
and incentives, and;
3. The City agrees that no firefighter layoffs or reduction of fire and EMS services would
occur before, during or after implementation of Proposition B.


Mayor Turner responded with the following: 

Dear Marty:

The city is committed to all parties returning to the table to work out a collective bargaining agreement. That will require the parties sitting down to negotiate terms that are not covered by Prop B. At the same time, the city must move forward with balancing its budget before the end of June. If the parts can reach an agreement on Prop B, it can subsequently be included in a future collective bargaining agreement. 

Prop B is very vague and ambiguous on parity. Having said that, the city looks to the requirements a police officer must meet to attain a certain position and pay and applies the same requirements to a firefighter in the same or similar position.

The city has repeatedly said that we would avoid layoffs of municipal workers and firefighters if Prop B was phased-in 5 years. Anything less than 5 years would require some layoffs without a funding source. Phasing in Prop B over 3.5 years would still require some layoffs, but significantly less than would be required with full implementation.