Houston, we have a problem. In March, the Houston Mayor’s office called for 400 firefighters to be laid off in order to fund pay raises that voters had called for in the last election. The city of Houston estimates the pay raise to be 29%.
In the November elections 59% of voters cast their ballots in favor of giving firefighters the same pay as police officers of the same rank. Back pay will also be issued in the beginning of May, costing the city of Houston $30 million.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and his administration estimate the cumulative cost of increasing pay would be close to $307 million from fiscal year 2019 to fiscal year 2023.
A couple of weeks after the layoffs were announced, Houston firefighters took to the streets in protest. But unfortunately, their complaints have done little to stop the layoffs from going forward. On Thursday, 66 cadets were sent letters notifying them of their dismissal.