City Controller Hollins rejects Whitmire's claim that he will certify $1.5B firefighter's deal

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Saturday, June 15, 2024
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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- City Controller Chris Hollins' office has rejected Mayor John Whitmire's claim that Hollins will certify the Houston Firefighters Union deal with the city.

According to Whitmire, Hollins told the mayor's staff that he was satisfied with the responses to his questions and intended to certify the agreement.

Hollins rejected this claim Friday evening in a social post on Instagram saying:

"The mayor doesn't speak for me or my office. I appreciated the meeting with the mayor's team, which was long overdue. The commitment I made was to review their written responses promptly and to make my decision regarding certification after my office has completed our due diligence. We are working expeditiously to do just that. Our goal is and always has been to protect the taxpayers of the City of Houston. The politics at play have no bearing on the work of the controller's office."

READ MORE: Houston City Council passes $6.7 billion budget, $1.5 billion firefighter deal in danger

Hollins' rejection of the alleged certification comes after weeks of back and forth with Whitmire. On June 5, Hollins declined to certify the agreement. On June 11, Hollins sent Whitmire questions seeking additional information on the agreement.

The deal was made in March 2024 after years of deliberation on firefighter pay. It includes about $650 million in backpay for Houston firefighters who worked for years with no contract with the city, plus 34% raises over the next five years.

READ MORE: Houston city council set to discuss $1B firefighter pay deal on Tuesday after moving item last week

If Hollins intends to certify, the deal that was in danger just two days ago could pass in Tuesday's council vote.

Hollins' office said their review of Whitmire's responses is ongoing.