Council members call rare special meeting over fire ballot petition

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Members of the firefighters union bring petitions to city hall on July 17, 2017. (KTRK)

Five city council members have filed for a special meeting Friday to discuss a ballot initiative for firefighters to receive equal pay to police officers.

Greg Travis, Michael Kubosh, Brenda Stardig, Dwight Boykins and Martha Castex-Tatum all filed the notice for a special meeting to be held at 10 a.m. on Friday.

In Houston's strong-mayor system, Mayor Sylvester Turner alone has the authority to put items on the city council's agenda, except in instances like this, where at least three members file for a special meeting.

That filing, which was first reported by the Houston Chronicle, puts one item on the agenda: the firefighter petition.

It was exactly one year ago to the day that the Houston Professional Firefighters Association turned in more than 32,000 signatures to ask the city to put the issue on the November 2017 ballot.

One year later, the issue is still not scheduled for voters.

The HPFA sued the city of Houston in December after months had gone by and the city secretary hadn't begun to count the signatures. A state district court in March ruled against the city, saying the hold-up was unreasonable.

A spokesperson for the mayor says the meeting is unneeded as the process is already in motion and council members had been notified of the timeline.

Turner is out of the country on a trade mission.

For the meeting to happen, a quorum of city council members must be present.

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