Fire union boss gets city of Houston job back after arbitrator rules in his favor

Monday, July 19, 2021
Fire union boss gets city job back after arbitrator rules in his favor
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Marty Lancton was fired back in January, but an arbitrator said the city was wrong to do it. He is also due back pay.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After eight months without a paycheck, the president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Union is getting his city job back with back pay.

On Monday morning, an arbitrator ruled the city was wrong to fire Marty Lancton for disciplinary reasons in January. He said he has not received a city paycheck since late 2020. He is paid a small stipend by the union.

Lancton is a Houston firefighter by rank, but is assigned to the union per a Memorandum of Understanding with the city.

The arbitrator ruled that when Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña decided to terminate that memorandum, he did not give Lancton the proper notice and violated his due process rights.

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Peña and the City of Houston argued that Lancton never signed the memo and it was void. Lancton said he had. The arbitrator sided with the union president.

The timing of the firing did raise some eyebrows. It came in the midst of a long battle between the union and the city over a new contract.

Firefighters have been without one since 2017. The actual date of Lancton's termination coincided with the opening day of the Texas Legislature's latest regular session, which the union president traditionally attends.

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