HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Two weeks after Houston City Council gave final approval to the layoff of more than 300 city workers, hostilities between Mayor Sylvester Turner and firefighters continue to escalate.
On Tuesday, Turner publicly pledged a crackdown on firefighters who insult him on social media or are found to be conducting political activity at the city's fire stations.
"It has gotten out of hand and I'm stopping it right now. If there is any campaigning at fire stations or on city property or city buildings, people will be disciplined. I am not going to tolerate it. And being disrespectful, all these comments being made, it's gotten out of hand and this culture has to stop and it's going to stop," said Turner.
Firefighters and their supporters have been quick to respond on social media, posting pictures of both candidate Turner and newly elected Mayor Turner conducting what they claim are political activities at fire stations.
The pictures were taken when Turner enjoyed the firefighter union's full endorsement.
That relationship rapidly deteriorated into open warfare when firefighters suffered a reduction in their pension benefits under Turner and then battled the mayor last fall in their successful ballot box bid for pay parity with Houston police.
Today Mayoral challenger Tony Buzbee visited one fire station and sent his campaign staff to deliver food and encouragement to several others.
Firefighter Union president Marty Lancton responded to the mayor's warning with hard words of his own describing the threat of punishment against his members as a "hypocritical temper tantrum."