Mayor Turner: 47 municipal employees to be laid off this week

By Phil Archer - Reporter

HOUSTON - Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city will lay off 47 municipal employees this week.

The layoffs are a result of the implementation of Proposition B, which requires pay parity for firefighters with police.

“Some will come out of the Parks Department, library, public health. We’re trying to minimize the number of layoffs as much as possible, but unfortunately, the cost exceeds what the city has,” Turner said.

Turner said Prop B will cost $80 - $100 million.

Last week, the city laid off 66 rookie firefighters, and Turner said there could be hundreds more layoffs needed to balance the budget.

“If the (Firefighters) Union is willing to phase in Prop B, we could avoid these layoffs and impact on city across the board," Turner said.

The Firefighters Union said it has proposed a plan to phase in Proposition B, but has gotten no response from the city.

"The firefighters are the only group that have offered a implementation proposal to the city. It’s a three-year implementation of Prop B. Saves the city $120 million. Reduces the cost. Everything the city asked for. And this mayor continues to mislead the public," said Marty Lancton, the Firefighters' Union president.

Lancton said Turner doesn’t appear to be planning to apply the raises across the board as required by law.

Lancton says that's been proven by budget documents the city refused to share but were recently leaked to the union.

He says they show that almost 900 fire department employees won’t be getting raises this year or next.

"For over six months, we’ve been asking for the city to provide fin data and now I think we know why. The secret documents we obtained -- that we repeatedly asked this mayor to give us -- clearly show this mayor is actively not respecting the will of 300,000 voters," Lancton said.

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