The Mayor of Houston is proposing the axing of around 400 firefighters in order to come up with the money to pay the voter-mandated salary hikes for the remaining 90 percent of the department.
The layoffs of the 10 percent that would be sacrificed -numbering around 400- would effectively allow the funding mandated in a November referendum. Of those 400, around 68 of the damned force would be cadets, who Mayor Sylvester Turner declined to promote due to a hiring freeze.
“When you factor in Proposition B, it’s $197 million that we have to find a way to balance between now and June, and unless there’s additional revenue coming in, we cannot do it without there being significant layoffs,” Turner said.
The Democratic mayor will also seek to issue retroactive backpay from January 1 to May, totalling around $30 million in all.
“So, basically, on May 9 you want to be hanging out near a firefighter because he’s going to be buying,” Councilman Greg Travis said. “He’s going to have a lot of money on that day.”
To further make room, Fire Chief Sam Pena noted that around $25 million would have to be cut from the HFD’s $503 million budget.
Not everyone is thrilled, however.
“The mayor’s hatred of firefighters now will have terrible consequences for us and for the public,” said Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association President Marty Lancton. “He’s willing to destroy public safety in Houston to punish firefighter families. A world-class fire department is being destroyed from within by third-rate politicians.”
According to FOX News, the raises required by Proposition B was approved by 59 percent of voters.
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