Houston sends out layoff notices to 67 fire academy cadets

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's office issued layoff notices to 67 fire academy cadets April 4.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's office issued layoff notices to 67 fire academy cadets April 4.

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.


MOST RECENT

While the Texas Supreme Court's 15th Emergency Order issued May 14 allowed residential eviction proceedings to resume statewide beginning May 19 following a two-month hiatus, the order does not require those proceedings to resume. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Hidalgo, Turner request eviction moratorium be extended through Aug. 24

In hopes of avoiding a new wave of homelessness plaguing Harris County, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo have requested all justices of the peace countywide to postpone eviction hearings until late August.

Total cases have risen to 13,268 in Harris County, 7,812 of which are considered active while 5,215 are confirmed to have recovered. A total of 241 people are confirmed to have died from the coronavirus in the county.(Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 241 new cases, 5 deaths confirmed June 3

Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said 45% of new cases statewide between May 26 and June 2 can be tied to prisons, jails, meat packing plants or nursing homes.

Houston police department
Houston residents call for police reforms, reduced budget at City Council hearing

The day after a march honoring Houston native George Floyd, speakers called for more spending on social services and better police oversight.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Phase 3 of his Open Texas plan June 3. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Greg Abbott's June 3 guidelines allow most Texas businesses to operate at 50% capacity

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continues to lift coronavirus-related business restrictions.

Participants held fists in the air during a moment of silence at a June 2 protest over the death of George Floyd. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Criminal justice research expert weighs in on George Floyd protests and the sentiments driving them

"I think the data is clear and convincing that there is a problem. I think that we now have societal consensus of that problem and accepting that data."

Food For Heroes has supported between 10-15 local restaurants while feeding health care workers fighting against COVID-19. (Courtesy Food For Heroes)
Bellaire High School students form nonprofit to feed health care workers through local restaurants

The student-run nonprofit has helped 10-15 local restaurants deliver food to health care workers.

Houston Food Bank is looking for more volunteers as it handles increased food distribution during COVID-19. (Courtesy Houston Food Bank)
Houston Food Bank: Volunteers needed now more than ever

The Houston Food Bank is distributing more than double the usual amount of food throughout the community.

Bellaire City Council has delayed paying out additional funding to a construction management company until the council gains more clarity on how long the company was contracted to work. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bellaire council delays action on additional funding for street projects

Both projects missed their target completion dates by several months.

(Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)
PHOTOS: Scenes from the downtown Houston march for George Floyd

People of all ages, colors and creeds packed downtown Houston June 2 to march in memory of former Houston resident George Floyd.

As protests over the death of George Floyd continue, the Harris County Public Health Department released a statement asking people to take precautionary measures if they plan to attend a protest. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: County tops 350 new cases for second straight day

As protests over the death of George Floyd continue, the Harris County Public Health Department released a statement asking people to take precautionary measures if they plan to attend a protest.

Nola Z. Valente/Community Impact Newspaper
60,000 gather in downtown Houston June 2 in solidarity with George Floyd's family

Among a series of marches across the U.S. to honor George Floyd, his hometown of Houston turned out in the thousands June 2.

Patricia King-Ritter will step down as director of Evelyn’s Park, effective June 30. Her successor has yet to be selected, though the park’s board of directors is in the midst of a transition plan. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Evelyn’s Park director to step down June 30

Patricia King-Ritter has been involved in the park's board and development for the past seven years.