Two citywide petitions could put a new Frisco Fire Department structure on the city’s May ballot.

The Frisco Fire Fighters Association collected more than 5,000 signatures across two petitions asking for civil service and collective bargaining to be added to the May general election, association representatives said.

“It's going to be nice to finally get this on the ballot and let the citizens decide what kind of voice they want their firefighters to have,” FFFA President Matthew Sapp said.

City officials have 35 days to verify the signatures. Association members submitted the petitions Aug. 21, giving Frisco’s city secretary until Sept. 25.

City officials have declined to comment on the petitions until they are verified.

The context

FFFA members have been working to put civil service and collective bargaining on a ballot since 2020, Sapp said. They will potentially be on the May ballot as two different items.

Here are what those terms mean, according to state law:
  • Civil service: A system with a three-citizen commission to assess the hiring, firing and promotion of firefighters. Under Frisco’s current system, city officials have that power.
“What civil service does is eliminate favoritism,” FFFA Secretary Treasurer Dustin Allen said.

  • Collective bargaining: A system allowing both the fire department and the police department to become their own bargaining agents when it comes to agreements on wages, staff numbers and recruitment.
“That allows the [departments’] association to, as a collective, sit down and meet and discuss working conditions with the city or city management,” Allen said.

Only the fire department was named in the Frisco petition.

Diving deeper

Other North Texas cities, such as Plano, operate under a civil service system for both police and fire departments. Texas cities use civil service to negotiate firefighter and police officer working conditions and pay, said John Riddle, president of the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters, in an emailed statement.

“In Texas, 83 cities rely on some form of civil service in the fire service,” Riddle said.

Learn more

The FFA’s website is being updated to a campaign-style format as the city continues verifying the petition signatures. Despite the updates, which have removed access to some petition information, residents can still enter their contact information if they have questions.

More updates are expected to come after the city’s Sept. 25 deadline.