HOUSTON — Members of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association are calling for a vote of “no confidence” on Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña.
The union made the announcement Tuesday, and members say it comes down to public safety.
They say it started when HPFFA President Marty Lancton received a letter from some of the fire department’s district chiefs requesting this vote of confidence regarding Pena.
Two of the district chiefs spoke out Tuesday saying that they are bringing it up because firefighters asked them to. They believe there are several problems within the department that could impact public safety and the leadership isn’t doing enough.
They said 95 out of 105 district chiefs agree with these firefighters, saying that they do at least want to vote whether or not they have confidence in Peña. They say it isn’t personal and that its 100% based on performance.
“Four thousands members and women of the Houston Fire Department approached us with some safety concerns," Chief Mo Davis said. "There are safety concerns that we have no leadership and the leadership they are talking about is there’s no direction above us."
Some of their concerns have to do with their apparatus breaking down often, firefighters leaving to go to other departments at what they call an “alarming rate” and their health, specifically the cancer rate.
Peña had a lot to say in response to all of this; he agrees the firefighters and the community deserve to have the best equipment and materials and says progress been made.
“I stand by our work and the significant progress we’ve made in the last two years in addressing the state of the fleet, firefighter cancer prevention initiatives, and flood response equipment and training,” Peña said.
He went on to say his focus is going to continue to be on working to resolve the challenges the department faces. Mayor Sylvester Turner also weighed in on this, supporting the chief, saying that he is doing a great job and that what the union is doing is a political move.
A union representative says they will be taking this vote of confidence in Peña in the next week or so and the results will be made public.