Houston begins sending Proposition B raise checks to firefighters

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.

The city of Houston began issuing $27.43 million in delayed raises to Houston firefighters on May 10 that are intended to bring them into pay parity with police starting from Jan. 1, according to a statement from the city.

The raises were mandated by the passage of Proposition B in November.

A total of $31 million in raises will be paid out before the end of the fiscal year on June 30. Another 4% raise is slated to come starting July 1 to match a police officer raise that also takes effect with the new fiscal year, according to the city.

"I still believe Proposition B is very bad financial policy for the city. However, I also believe the firefighters deserve a raise," Mayor Sylvester Turner said in the release. "The issue of the legality of Proposition B is left to the courts, but I want Houstonians to know that we are moving forward to implement Proposition B and fulfill the will of the voters, in a fiscally prudent manner without jeopardizing the financial integrity of the city."

Implementing the raises has led to layoff notices being sent to dozens of city workers and fire cadets, as well as 220 firefighters.

The step drew criticism from the firefighters' union president, who called the implementation of these stopgap raises "a dumpster fire" because the way these raises were calculated were not explained to nor vetted by the union, which could trigger grievance claims from individual firefighters, according to the union.

“Hundreds, if not thousands, of Houston firefighters got paychecks today that were wrong," said Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association President Marty Lancton.

The city is funding the raises by drawing down its fund reserves, officials have said. With mediation between the union and the city exhausted, a county district judge is weighing a ruling that could invalidate the proposition or reaffirm it.

By Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


Gov. Greg Abbott announced a special legislative session will begin July 8. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces special legislative session to start July 8

Agenda items will be announced before the session begins, according to a release from the governor's office.

The Bellaire City Council is considering a specific use permit that will allow Bellaire Church of Christ to construct new parking on the northern portion of 8001 South Rice Avenue. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bellaire City Council considers new Church of Christ parking lot

The proposal, which faces opposition from several homeowners, could be further deliberated by the council on July 19 before a permit is approved or denied.

Texas Medical Center coronavirus updates: Hospital system reports 2.2% positivity rate, down 13% year to date

COVID-19 patient numbers at medical center hospitals are down to 309 from the over 2,000 patients those same hospitals were housing in January.

The text of General Order No. 3, which Gordon Granger issued from Galveston in June 1865 to explicitly liberate enslaved Black Texans, runs across the bottom of the mural. (Colleen Ferguson/Community Impact Newspaper)
‘I am filled’: Houston-Galveston area celebrates first Juneteenth as federal holiday

See how local policymakers, historians, artists and philanthropists honored the Juneteenth holiday at its birthplace with the dedication of a 5,000-square-foot mural.

The Texas Central rail connection from Dallas to Houston will feature a bullet train similar to this one. (Courtesy Texas Central Partners/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Supreme Court declines to review high-speed rail case, freeing company up to use eminent domain

Texas Central, the company looking to build a 236-mile high-speed rail line connecting Houston and Dallas, has been given a big win in an ongoing legal battle over whether the company is legally recognized as a "railroad company" under state law.

The East River 9 golf course and Riverside Houston restaurant will be overlooking the city of Houston skyline. (Rendering of Riverhouse Houston; Courtesy of Sterling Illustration)
Golf course, restaurant coming on bank of Buffalo Bayou

A new public golf course and restaurant are coming to Houston’s Fifth Ward on the bank of Buffalo Bayou in early 2022.

There will be various events across the Houston area celebrating the Fourth of July, including League City's Fireworks Extravaganza. (Courtesy of League City)
12 Fourth of July weekend events, celebrations to attend in the Greater Houston area

Here are 12 Fourth of July weekend events throughout the Houston region.

ribbon cutting
Nearly $400M project to boost Houston-area water supply by up to 500M gallons a day

The project has been in development for over 50 years and broke ground in 2017.

Following Hurricane Harvey, debris lined the streets in many parts of Harris County. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
After Department of Housing and Urban Development denies request, Texas General Land Office drafting plan to subaward Harris County $750M for flood mitigation

The Texas General Land Office now plans to subaward Harris County flood mitigation funding after the county was left out of recent Hurricane Harvey relief funds.

Harris County Pets facilitates pet adoptions, foster placements and more. (Courtesy Harris County Pets)
Harris County Pets temporarily waives adoption fees to control increase of population

Harris County Pets has exceeded its capacity to house its growing pet population, officials said.