It’s been over three months since Houston voters approved pay parity between firefighters and police officers and Houston City Council is getting ready to begin implementation. As the legal representatives who helped the Houston Professional Firefighters Association get Proposition B on the ballot, our entire team is very proud to see the measure come to fruition.
In a City Council meeting in late January, Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council members discussed different options for how to roll the proposition out. Although Mayor Turner opposed Proposition B, claiming there was not room in the budget for pay parity, others have suggested the money can be allocated from other places. The City of Houston is required to keep 7.5% reserve funds on hand for emergencies, but Houston has an estimated 8.9% in reserves, meaning the city has an excess in its reserves. Some have suggested the excess in reserves can be used to immediately implement Prop B.
While there are many options for funding the implementation of pay parity for fire fighters, the City Council could look to its surplus funds to implement Prop B. Estimates indicate that if the city continues to spend at the same rate through the end of the 2019 fiscal year, there would be a surplus of $88 million available. This surplus could be used for the immediate funding of pay parity. But the city doesn’t have to implement Prop B all at once, as pay parity could be introduced in phases to be completed over five years.
We Are Proud To Support Firefighters
Feldman & Feldman has been honored to help Houston firefighters in their fight to get pay parity with police officers. We are also assisting Dallas and San Antonio firefighters in protecting their rights in separate actions. Our attorneys have extensive experience with governmental entities and workers’ unions and know how to achieve successful results.
Contact Feldman & Feldman For Help
The dedicated attorneys at Feldman & Feldman provide a unique approach to complex legal issues. If you would like to schedule an appointment with us to discuss your legal issues, contact us today.
Houston firefighters have been fighting for Prop B to make it onto the November ballot. Mayor Sylvester Turner strongly opposed the proposition despite Houston firefighters obtaining more than enough signatures to get it on the ballot per the city’s election laws. With the help of Feldman & Feldman, Prop B successfully made it onto the ballot, so voters get to decide whether or not firefighters deserve pay parity with police officers. This long fought battle took a somber tone when an Anti-Prop B sign was placed just 25 yards from the site of the deadly Southwest Inn fire that claimed the lives of five firefighters and injured dozens more.
The Southwest Inn fire occurred in May 2013 when a fire at a restaurant spread to the adjoining Southwest Inn. The fire spread and quickly became a five-alarm fire. Firefighters bravely rushed into the hotel to evacuate remaining guests, but shortly thereafter the roof collapsed, killing four firefighters and injuring 15 more, one of which eventually succumbed to his injuries.
This site is still considered hallowed ground for firefighters who have not forgotten the ultimate price their comrades paid in the line of duty. Now, all that remains of the site is a concrete slab, crosses for those who lost their lives, and overgrown grass. There is also a chain link fence approximately 25 yards from the site where a political poster advocating against Prop B was placed.
The sign was made by a political action committee called Protect Houston, which is funded by Mayor Sylvester Turner. Protect Houston claimed the placement of the sign was inadvertent and promptly removed it; however, many supporters of Houston firefighters found the placement disheartening.
Since 2011, Houston police officers have had a 37% increase in their salaries, but Houston firefighters have only received a 3% pay increase during this same timeframe. Because firefighters face great danger in the line of duty, they are pushing for a well deserved and longer overdue raise.
Feldman & Feldman Supports Our Firefighters
Feldman & Feldman was proud to help Houston firefighters get Prop B on the ballot. As experienced election law lawyers, we advised them on the best course of action and eventually succeeded in getting Prop B on the ballot. If your organization needs advice on election laws, don’t wait to contact us today.
Texas early voting starts this week, and Houstonians have a lot of important decisions to make. In addition to voting for candidates, Houstonians will be voting on a number of propositions that will have huge implications for the city. Feldman & Feldman has proudly assisted the Houston Professional Firefighters Association (HPFFA) in its effort to get its “Proposition B” pay initiative on the November ballot.
What Is Proposition B?
Houston firefighters are asking Houstonians to vote on whether or not firefighters should have pay parity with police officers. HPFFA President Marty Lancton described Proposition B by asking a simple question, “Do you equally value the service and sacrifice of the brave Houston firefighters the same way the city of Houston equally values that of brave Houston police officers?”
Since 2011, Houston police officers have had a 37% increase in their salaries, but Houston firefighters have only received a 3% pay increase during this same timeframe. Houston firefighters are just looking for equal treatment for doing a job that saves lives at the risk of their own. If Proposition B passes, firefighters across Houston will receive well deserved raises for their hard work.
Getting Proposition B On the Ballot
Houston firefighters have had a hard time getting Proposition B on the ballot. Critics of the plan, including Mayor Sylvester Turner, have aggressively tried to prevent the issue from going before local voters. Feldman & Feldman filed a restraining order against Mayor Turner on behalf of the HPFFA after a video showing Mayor Turner campaigning against the pay parity initiative during a city council meeting was posted to the City of Houston’s website.
Feldman & Feldman Is Proud To Represent Firefighters
The entire legal team at Feldman & Feldman has great respect for firefighters. We are proud to not only represent Houston firefighters, but also San Antonio and Dallas firefighters with their legal issues. As election law lawyers, with experience handling claims against governmental agencies, we are uniquely qualified to handle these types of cases. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your legal concerns.