Mayor Turner announced Thursday that dozens of fire cadets received layoff notices as the city moves towards implementing Proposition B.
These layoffs don’t come as a surprise. Mayor Turner has been saying the layoffs would be the only option if the city implements Prop B all at once.
67 fire cadets received notices about being laid off. The layoffs will be effective in 60 days.
In addition, Mayor Turner’s statement says that next week, 47 municipal workers will receive layoff notices too.
Then, on April 17th, City Council will vote on layoffs of classified first responder personnel.
Mayor Turner has said that he doesn’t want to lay off anyone, but it’s the only way to balance the city’s budget by the start of the next fiscal year on July 1st.
Proposition B passed without a funding source and the mayor says it will cost the city 80 to 100 million dollars a year.
He added that the city is already facing a budget gap of 117 million dollars-without the cost of Prop B.
On Wednesday, April 3rd, Mayor Turner sent over his latest proposal to Marty Lancton, the president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association.
This latest proposal suggested a phase in of Prop B over three and half years. It would require layoffs, but significantly fewer than if it is implemented immediately.
Lancton responded to the layoffs with a statement that read in part, “Sylvester Turner’s layoff notices to taxpayer-funded, Houston-trained HFD cadets reflect the mayor’s ineptitude, egotism, and a new depth of his vindictiveness.”
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña also weighed in on the issue saying, “It is an action I hoped we would not have to take, but on the other hand, we cannot ignore the cost of Prop B. Bridging a $20 million reduction in the HFD budget has forced me to make some extremely difficult decisions”
Peña went on to say that he hopes that an agreement can be reached between now and June 7th, which is when those 67 layoffs would be effective.