Houston sends out layoff notices to 67 fire academy cadets

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UPDATED: 8:07 p.m.

Layoff notices will go out to 47 Houston municipal employees next week and City Council will vote on firefighter layoffs on April 17, a news release from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stated.

“In the absence of a phased-in approach, the City’s options are limited when we must balance our budget by the end of June,” Turner stated in the release.

Original post: 5:45 p.m.

Officials confirmed that 67 Houston fire academy cadets received layoff notices April 4, stating that their positions will be terminated in 60 days.

The cadets are not technically laid off until the 60-day mark is reached, City of Houston Communications Director Alan Bernstein said. Until then, the mayor’s office and the Houston Professional Firefighters Association Local 341 can negotiate a phase-in plan for across-the-board pay raises as mandated by Proposition B, which could invalidate the need for layoffs.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has previously stated that the city may need to lay off anywhere from 400 to 500 firefighters and city municipal workers to fund the pay raises, though union President Marty Lancton has disputed that.

“As the Mayor knows, the announced HFD cadet layoffs are preventable,” Lancton stated in an open letter April 4. “We hope more Houston City Council Members will finally stand up to Mayor Turner and reject his slash-and-burn plan for HFD.”

Layoffs of firefighters, which are considered classified positions, need city council approval. Layoffs of municipal workers and fire cadets however do not require council approval and can go into effect sooner than the rest of the cuts, Turner told reporters April 3.

Layoffs of other municipal employees have not yet been confirmed, Bernstein said.

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Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered health care and public education in Austin.
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