They’re talking, for whatever it’s worth.
Officials from the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association said Friday they would seek union members’ approval of a 3.5-year phase-in of Proposition B if the city meets certain conditions.
After meeting with the union to discuss the terms, however, Mayor Sylvester Turner released a statement saying the provisions were “not consistent” with discussions held at the meeting.
Union president Marty Lancton said he had in fact laid out the union’s terms to the mayor, which include a guarantee that no firefighters will receive layoffs “before, during or after implementation of Proposition B.”
“We said it implicitly and explicitly,” Lancton said.
The mayor acknowledged the union delivered a copy of the letter, but accused Lancton of publicizing it before the meeting. Lancton also said this was untrue.
Aside from the no-layoff guarantee, union officials said any phase-in agreement would have to be ratified through a collective bargaining agreement.
Lancton also said Turner’s administration must provide the firefighters with “complete access to city financial and budget information” and implement “complete parity,” including base and incentive pay, with Houston police officers.
The two sides were scheduled to meet again next week before Houston City Council considers a measure at its Wednesday meeting that would authorize 220 firefighter layoffs.
See here for the latest update. I mean, maybe they’ll hammer something out and maybe they won’t. Deadlines have a way of focusing the mind, especially when layoffs are on the other side. I’ll reserve judgment about what may or may not be involved until there’s a resolution, but I will say this: Very early on in this process, Mayor Turner’s position was that Prop B had to be implemented all at once, there was no legal path to negotiating a phase-in. Everyone seems to have forgotten about that, which in and of itself doesn’t bother me too much since I like the idea of phasing it in regardless. But if this is true, then all it will take is someone filing a lawsuit to screw this all up. Let’s worry about that another day, as it’s not a thing until and unless a phase-in deal is ratified. There’s plenty of trouble here already without borrowing more.