Mayor’s Open Letter to Houstonians About Prop. B and Moving Forward

Please see Mayor Sylvester Turner’s open letter on the aftermath of Proposition B here.


— “We love and respect our firefighters and want them to be appropriately compensated. Having said that, I don’t believe the voters intended to place our City in financial turmoil, cause our credit rating to tumble and increase the costs of City debt. As mayor, I have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the financial stability of this city and that includes presenting a balanced budget. Prop B threatens to erase all the financial gains of pension reform and place us in a financial crisis. As a city, we cannot let that happen. We must work together to find a path forward no matter how bumpy the course or how hot the rhetoric.”

— “Because no funding source was included in Prop B. and the City is required to balance its books by June 30th of each year, the implementation of the voter approved measure places the City in a dilemma; increase the firefighters’ pay by 29 percent which will invariably cause a reduction in personnel and services, seek a determination from the court on whether Prop B conflicts with state law which could only be done after voters approved it, and/or negotiate with the union to phase in the costs of Prop B over multiple years. As mayor, I have made sure the city is pursuing all three paths.”

— “The City has asked a court of law to have the final say. That is how our system of law should work.”

— “Firefighters sued the city to destroy the City’s historic pension reform; not just the part relating to firefighters, but all the reforms for all municipal employees. That litigation could add hundreds of millions of dollars to the City’s costs, scuttle some or all the employee pension systems and financially ruin the City.”

— “The Houston Police Officers’ Association sued the City of Houston and Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 341 on November 30, 2018 . . . No new, separate lawsuit was filed by the City. No new parties were added in the 2018 HPOU lawsuit by the City. No money damages are sought by the City.”

— “In my 30 years of public service, I have supported collective bargaining. I fought for collective bargaining for firefighters in the Texas Legislature in 2005. To this day, I am committed to collective bargaining.”