Houston mayor ready to end contention with fire union by issuing layoffs for HFD pay raises

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The layoffs of Houston city employees have long been on the table for Mayor Sylvester Turner to use to fund voter-approved pay raises for the city's firefighters.

On Friday, one city council member confirmed to ABC13 Eyewitness News that Turner is ready to implement the raises, at the tune of up to 375 layoffs among firefighters as well as municipal employees.

Turner weighed in on the layoffs, reiterating a warning he had for voters before the raises were approved.

"I said to voters, 'It will cost more than what we have, and it will lead to layoffs.' I said that. There is no funding source attached to Proposition B. Those have not changed," Turner said Friday.

ABC13 is talking with the firefighters' union about the move.

Murmurs of the proposed figure were made public as early as Thursday, as ABC13's Ted Oberg was first to report about them.

Around the same time Thursday, all 68 firefighter cadets who have not yet been sworn in filed grievances at city hall. They allege the mayor and fire chief retaliated against them. Of this, the mayor called the move "theatrics" and a distraction.

The pay raises for firefighters were approved under Prop B, which was voted on last November. The ballot initiative allowed firefighters to be paid the same level of salary as their police counterparts.

Since Prop B's approval, the mayor has hesitated to see the raises through, citing budgetary reasons. That hesitation has drawn contention between the mayor's office and the fire union.

Oberg has been tracking the developments ever since. You can see every step of the Prop B saga in the stories below:

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