Texas Court of Appeals rules Prop B, firefighter pay parity plan, is constitutional

Mycah Hatfield Image
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Texas appeals court rules Houston's Prop B is constitutional
EMBED <>More Videos

Texas's 14th Court of Appeals again ruled in favor of Houston firefighters in the long running 2018 Prop B pay parity fight.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas's 14th Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in favor of Houston firefighters in the long running 2018 Proposition B pay parity fight, saying that it is constitutional.

Prop B was approved by Houston voters in 2018 after a petition driven by firefighters prompted the item to be placed on the ballot.

The referendum called for the city to pay firefighters equivalent salaries and incentives to their equal ranking counterparts at the Houston Police Department.

"Houston firefighters, our families, and voters thank the appellate court for its careful and thorough review," said HPFFA President Patrick "Marty" Lancton. "Houston voters approved pay parity for firefighters and now, the courts have upheld that vote. Prop. B is the law, and it is time to sit down and get this issue resolved."

Mayor Sylvester Turner campaigned against the initiative and fought it in court once it was approved. The Houston Police Officers' Union did as well.

It is a significant court ruling in the battle, but far from the end.

The city announced they will appeal the decision.

Data provided to ABC13 by HPFFA from 2016 shows between a 24% and almost 32% discrepancy between HPD and HFD pay.

Turner recently gave firefighters an 18% raise over three years, but it was not designed to accomplish the same rules as Prop B.

In announcing the raise, Turner said it brought Houston firefighters in line with firefighters in other Texas cities.

There was no mention of equity pay with Houston police officers.

"Any attempt by the mayor back then to say that somehow using federal stimulus funds, one-time funding sources, for a pay increase is absolutely not anywhere close to a contract or what the firefighters are owed under the law," Lancton said. "The mayor knows this. It was a political trick."

The money owed to firefighters under Proposition B would be "financially devastating", according to the city.

A spokesperson told ABC13 that the burden would be passed on to Houstonians in the form of higher taxes.

City Attorney Arturo Michel issued a statement following the ruling, expressing disagreement with it:

"The City of Houston respectfully disagrees with today's Fourteenth Court of Appeals decision where, in a divided 2-1 vote, the majority reversed the trial court's determination that the firefighter pay parity charter amendment was unconstitutional. The net effect of what the Firefighter's Union is seeking would be financially devastating to the City. The City will seek review of the decision through either reconsideration by the entire Fourteenth Court of Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court, or both."

You can view the Court of Appeals ruling here.


City of Houston sends layoff notices to 66 fire cadets

Mayor Turner says Prop B is cheaper, can be implemented faster, but union calls it short on detail and 'improper'

Mayor chides media for not asking union his Prop B questions

Firefighters hope Houston judge will implement Prop B pay raises immediately

Mayor re-proposes 5-year Prop B deal as council kills trash fee

Firefighter pay scuffle delays Houston City Council again

13 Investigates finds questions in city's Prop B offer

Houston mayor lays out plan for Prop B firefighter raises

Protest over firefighters stops business at Houston City Council

In fight for Prop B pay parity, clarity between mayor and union disappears

Mayor Turner writes open letter to Houston regarding Prop B

City of Houston filing seeks to invalidate Prop B pay parity for firefighters

'You're pushing it, so be careful' War of words at Houston council over Prop B

Houston's trained heroes are stuck chopping wood, pouring concrete

Fire union to Turner: It's past time to implement Prop B

Prop B implementation has mayor sparring with fire union

After judge's decision, city's Prop B planning remains stalled

Judge denies police and city's request to delay implementation of Prop B

14-day hold granted on Prop B implementation in Houston

Council narrowly agrees on law firm to defend against Prop B

Campaign against firefighter pay parity raises nearly $1 million

Campaign against fire 'parity pay' funded by mayor, police union, reports show

Follow Ted Oberg on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Follow Mycah Hatfield on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.