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Judge dissolves TRO blocking implementation of firefighter pay parity amendment

December 18, 2018

A state district judge on Tuesday cleared the way for the voter-approved charter amendment that grants pay parity to Houston firefighters, dissolving a temporary restraining order and denying applications for an injunction and stay on the measure.

State District Judge Randy Wilson, ruling in favor of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, acknowledged the amendment generates “budget difficulties” for the city, but said voters were made aware of its price tag — more than $100 million — and approved it anyway.

Wilson’s ruling nullified a temporary restraining order granted last month by state District Judge Kristen Brauchle Hawkins at the request of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, which further sought an injunction on the amendment.

The City of Houston, meanwhile, attempted to put the amendment on hold by applying for a “stay.” Wilson denied the city and police union’s requests Tuesday.

Last month, voters approved the charter amendment, listed on the ballot as Proposition B, by a 59-41 margin. Mayor Sylvester Turner and the police union, led by president Joe Gamaldi, campaigned against the measure, holding town halls and running ads saying the city could not afford it.

The fire union, led by president Marty Lancton, advocated for the amendment, arguing the city had failed to grant firefighters adequate raises in recent years while police officers had received higher pay without public warnings of budget crises.

This story will be updated.

jasper.scherer@chron.com

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