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Restraining order lifted on firefighter pay referendum

Back to the planning stage.

Mayor Sylvester Turner

A state district judge on Tuesday dissolved a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of the voter-approved charter amendment granting pay parity to Houston firefighters and denied further attempts by the city and police union to delay the measure.

State District Judge Randy Wilson, ruling in favor of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, decided that voters were informed of the amendment’s price tag — more than $100 million a year — before the election and approved it anyway. The measure, appearing on the November ballot as Proposition B, passed with 59 percent of the vote.

“While this Court is sensitive to the budget difficulties the Pay-Parity Amendment will produce, the Houston voters decided they would rather have pay parity,” Wilson wrote.

[…]

The latest ruling comes more than two weeks after the HPOU sued the fire union and city over the parity measure, contending the amendment, which would tie firefighter pay to that of police of corresponding rank and experience, is unconstitutional because it conflicts with a provision of state law requiring firefighters to receive comparable pay to that of private sector employees.

Wilson, ruling that the amendment does not conflict with state law, indicated the city had contradicted its argument in a separate case by claiming that no private sector jobs are comparable to those of firefighters.

The lawsuit has been underway since Nov. 30, when the police union filed the suit against the fire union and the city, and [Judge Kristen] Hawkins granted a temporary restraining order.

The city later filed a cross-claim against the fire union, a remedy available to defendants seeking to take legal action against a co-defendant. In its claim, the city argued that the charter amendment “directly conflicts with the collective bargaining process and guidelines for firefighter compensation” laid out in the Texas Local Government Code, and therefore is invalid. Ultimately, the police union and city sought an injuction and stay on the parity amendment.

As the lawsuit has played out, the separate case referenced by Wilson — filed by the fire union against the city after contract talks stalled last year — has reached Texas’ 14th Court of Appeals.

See here for the background, and here for the Mayor’s statement. Neither the HPOU nor the city plans to appeal at this time, so as things stand the city will need to figure out how to move forward with Prop B while the litigation plays out, as was the case with Renew Houston. It’s not going to get any more cordial from here, that much I know.

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11 Comments

  1. Manny Barrera says:

    The Mayor and HPOU both lost out on the filing of the lawsuit.

    At least Turner said the City would not appeal so he can start working on how to make it work without all the hysterics from the people that lost on proposition B.

    Will give him credit that at least he did not kick the pension problem to whoever is the next mayor, unlike Bill White and especially Annise Parker.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    Let’s hope the mass layoffs happen soon, so those who don’t get fired can enjoy their raises this Christmas season!

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Have a good time looking down on Whoville! Enjoy the Whohash and roast beast!

  4. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill my wish the stock market tanking did not occur in time, otherwise it would be senator Beto.

    I hope that Trump sticks to the 5 billion so that the border partrol and the people that guard the man that will soon wear an orange jumpsuit (Secret Service) don’t get paid.

    Happy Christmas to you to Bill.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    Federal government employees should not be exempt from proper financial planning. They should have some money saved up, in case of emergency and/or the unknown, just like their private sector peers.

    A shutdown will be a paid vacation for many, although their salary for the vacation days will be delayed. That’s a deal I’d take any day. Delayed payment time off!

    For the rest, it’s my understanding that the military will get paid this time, because that money is already allocated. Some, like the TSA, will be working, but their pay will be delayed. Not great, but again, they should have some money saved for emergencies or unexpected expenses.

    Frankly, I’m disappointed with Trump right now. First he gave up bump stocks for NOTHING, the great negotiator threw a bone to the anti-gun folks and got nothing in return. Now he seems like he’s waffling on the wall. If he doesn’t INSIST the wall gets built right here, right now, I will be furious. There is absolutely no reason to NOT hold the line right now. He got that military funding.

  6. Jules says:

    I didn’t realize that immediately building the wall where Bill is (“right here, right now”) was an option. Build it just a little north of Bill and south of me and I might be for it.

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    Jules,

    Glad that you can admit that 1) walls work, and 2) walls are useful in keeping out undesirable people. Beyond that, the wall is an expense that will generate a ROI. We can calculate about how much the US taxpayers will save for each illegal alien that does NOT get in.

    Obama’s big campaign promise that he got elected on was ObamaCare, and he got that passed in his first two years. Why is it unrealistic to expect that Trump’s signature campaign promise, the wall, be done in Trump’s first years?

  8. Jules says:

    Lol, it was a joke. Individual 1’s fence will not be built.

  9. Manny Barrera says:

    Wrong Jules, Individual 1 will have a really nice steel wall consisting of metal bars that surrounds him. I am sure that some tough hombre will claim him as his own personal property.

  10. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill, they have to work, it is not a vacation.

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