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“No confidence”

The latest from the firefighters.

Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña will face a “no confidence” vote by members of the city’s fire union over what nearly 100 district chiefs say has been a lack of leadership and a failure to adequately equip or pay firefighters.

The vote, which is expected to take place in the next week, would have no practical effect on Peña’s position. Mayor Sylvester Turner is the only person who can remove Peña from the post he has held since the mayor appointed him in 2016.

The union’s Tuesday announcement marks the latest development in the increasingly fraught relationship between rank-and-file firefighters and the Turner administration.

Peña and Turner separately called the criticisms unfair and said the vote was part of a broader political campaign to discredit the city’s current leadership.

You can see a copy of the letter they sent here. Some of this is about Prop B, some is about the lack of a collective bargaining agreement and the current level of firefighter pay, some of it is about proposals to move from four shifts to three shifts (which is something that has been proposed in the past as well). The vote itself is symbolic – Mayor Turner is not going to fire Chief Peña.

I’m going to make a prediction: A year from now, the firefighters are still going to be unhappy. Very likely, firefighter unhappiness will still be an issue the next time we elect a Mayor in 2023. The firefighters have been unhappy with the Mayor going back to at least Mayor Lee Brown. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

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5 Comments

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    I think that Bill King will remedy the situation.

  2. Ross says:

    How is Bill King going to come up with budget money to raise HFD pay? King is a dilettante with no policy experience, no ideas, and no clue. He would be a disaster as Mayor.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Whoever wins the mayor’s race is going to face the same problems Turner faced…..unlimited wants and a limited amount of money to pay for those wants. Unless maybe Buzbee’s super secret plan is to sue Dallas for a bunch of money and use it to pay off the firefighters, fix the streets, etc., even he is going to get slapped in the face with reality.

  4. Jason Hochman says:

    Ross, I don’t know what is a dilettante but Bill King did send me an email detailing his plan to work out a deal with the fire fighters. He also sent me an email saying that the city budget was not balanced, so he seems to understand the fiscal situation. Turner doesn’t face unlimited wants, he has unlimited hogs at his trough who need to be fed. It used to be that a “career politician” was derisory, but then, Trump got elected, and it changed to “no political experience” was the worst thing. Of course the myth of the gentleman planter or responsible banker who spent a few years serving his community and country in political office was always just that: a myth.

  5. Ross says:

    @Jason, you have internet access, you can look up words. Bill King is a moron if he thinks he can give money to the firefighters without negatively impacting other city functions. Unless he can magically eliminate the revenue cap, there’s no extra budget for firefighter raises. If there is money for raises, it needs to go to other departments first.