Prop B mediation with firefighters 'not looking good': Mayor

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After three hours of talk between the City of Houston and firefighters over Prop B, all sides left the mediator's office Tuesday afternoon.

Only Mayor Sylvester Turner spoke to our cameras, saying, "Not looking good. Not looking good. That's as far as I can go."

Earlier, while walking into the second day of mediation over the voter-approved firefighter pay parity issue, the mayor told us "the sun will come out (tomorrow)" if no deal was reached Tuesday.

RELATED: City and firefighters back to the table over Prop B Tuesday afternoon

Police and fire union leaders were silent as they walked in.

The talks ordered by Harris County Judge Tanya Garrison between the city and unions for police officers and firefighters began Monday.

The sides talked for three and a half hours on the first day, longer than all three of the face-to-face sessions held since the Prop B election combined.

The mediation is non-binding, but aimed at resolving a bitter month-long fight over Prop B.

Tuesday's session was the last before an expected city council vote Wednesday on a plan to lay off 220 firefighters. The mayor says the layoffs are needed to balance the city budget and still pay firefighters the higher salary mandated by voter approved Prop B.

Even if things aren't looking bright in talks between the city and the unions, one thing is for certain: mediation is not over.

Judge Garrison said if no deal was reached Tuesday, both sides would be back to the table next week. Only the mediator can declare an impasse between the parties in the non-binding sessions.

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