Prop B: Court sends city and firefighters back to mediation before considering case

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The fight over Houston's Prop B is not going away any time soon.

The Texas 14th Court of Appeals ordered the City of Houston and the Houston firefighters union back to mediation.

Firefighters had asked court to consider the constitutionality of the voter-approved pay parity decision. The proposition means firefighters would have been paid the same as police officers of similar rank.

On May 15, a district court judge ruled Prop B unconstitutional. Firefighters immediately appealed, which has resulted in this move.

Early Thursday morning, a court ordered the city and firefighters to mediate within 60 days. A previous round of mediation failed.

If a settlement can be reached, the appeals court ordered both parties to drop their lawsuits over Prop B.

On Wednesday, Houston City Council voted to rescind the firefighter layoffs that were issued back in April. There's no immediate word what impact the latest ruling may have on those jobs.

Mayor Sylvester Turner released this statement Thursday:
Earlier today, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals referred the City of Houston, the Houston Police Officers Union (HPOU) and the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Union (HPFFA) to mediation in the Proposition B "pay parity" case, which a state district judge ruled unconstitutional.
Please attribute the following statement to Mayor Sylvester Turner.

"The parties met three different times in mediation with no success. While the most realistic course to move forward is to proceed with state authorized collective bargaining, which the firefighters requested from the legislature in 2005, the City of Houston will comply with the order to mediate."




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