Mayor says he'll meet with firefighters to avoid layoffs

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Wednesday he's now willing to work with Houston's firefighters to implement voter approved pay parity.

Turner says he's looking to meet with union leaders in the next few weeks and explore options that could minimize the need for layoff of city workers.

Since Proposition B passed back in November, the firefighters' union has repeatedly offered to return to the bargaining table.

But the Turner administration chose instead to mount a court challenge which ultimately failed.

Today the Mayor said he's now willing to consider the firefighters' suggestions for funding their estimated $100 million a year pay raise.

"My commitment is, before I layoff any person, I certainly intend to sit down with the firefighters' union, since they are the beneficiaries of Prop B and ask for any proposals they have to reduce the cost, so that we don't have to layoff as many people," said Turner.

Firefighter Union President Marty Lancton welcomed the announcement, but cautioned the mayor against "campaign style" stakeholder's meetings calling the proposal "divisive." 

"Houston firefighters have been on record that they will sit down with the mayor any place, any time anywhere and we look forward to an avenue and a path that is constructive for everyone," said Lancton.

Lancton told FOX 26 he believes enough savings can be found in the City's $5 billion annual budget to avoid laying off any municipal employees.