HOUSTON - The head of Houston’s firefighter union says the City is “hemorrhaging” first responders at a rate the department has never seen.
Houston Professional Firefighter Association President Marty Lancton says between 80-85 of his members have resigned since January 1 – most to accept jobs with higher-paying departments.
The union has been locked in a contract stalemate with Mayor Sylvester Turner and hasn’t received a pay raise in six years.
With the city unwilling to arbitrate, Lancton says many of his firefighters are taking their training and experience elsewhere.
“The amount of firefighters that are leaving the Houston Fire Department to go to other departments is staggering. We are hemorrhaging firefighters and it is about time that somebody down at City Hall pays attention because you have already put public safety at risk,” said Lancton.
HFD Chief Sam Peña says the department is aggressively recruiting to fill openings with 104 cadets in training and 50 more set to begin at the academy in April.
In the meantime, Peña says he’s keeping every fire apparatus in the City fully staffed.