AP NEWS

Houston officials could close six fire stations as part of layoff

March 19, 2019

Houston firefighters are scheduled to march on City Hall Tuesday, one day after Mayor Sylvester Turner rolled out his plan to give firefighters voter-mandated raises by cutting hundreds of city jobs and shutting si.

The projected layoffs include 400 to 500 firefighters and municipal employees, Turner said Monday, part of the mayor’s plan to fund the Proposition B referendum that requires the city to give firefighters the same pay as police of corresponding rank and experience.

The march, announced last week by the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Union officials have told participants to meet at the George H.W. Bush monument in Sesquicentennial Park.

Though city and fire union officials have attempted to negotiate a way of phasing in the Prop. B raises over multiple years, the two sides have yet to come together on a deal. In a statement, fire union President Marty Lancton accused Turner of making false and misleading claims to justify the layoffs.

“When the mayor forces the fire chief to lay off firefighters and close fire stations, then they must be held accountable for that reckless move,” Lancton said. “...They alone will be responsible for attack on Houston public safety and their defiance of Proposition B voters.”

Turner has said that without a phase-in agreement, he must lay off city employees because Prop. B did not come with a funding mechanism.

“Nobody wants to see public employee layoffs, but just like hard-working Houston families, the city must live within its means and reduce expenses to pay its bills when income is limited,” Turner said in a statement. “There’s no magic wand we can use to make financial challenges disappear.”

Meanwhile, city officials gave firefighters a list of six stations they intend to close as part of the layoffs, according to Lancton. The station addresses are:

910 Forest Cove Dr.

13602 Memorial Dr.

805 Pearl St.

17401 Saturn Ln.

5800 Teague Rd.

5626 Will Clayton Pkwy.

jasper.scherer@chron.com

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