Houston's police union is now running ads opposing the firefighters' pay parity proposal.
“Prop B is a bad deal for Houston. Even Fire Chief Samuel Pena agrees that Prop B will force significant police and fire layoffs,” says one ad released by the HPOU PAC. “Prop B would make Houston less safe. Prop B would bust the city's budget, adding $100 million to the deficit every year, raising taxes and fees.”
It's the latest in what's turning out to be a bitter battle through Election Day.
Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers' Union, says firefighters had their chance at a pay raise, but turned down the city's previous offers.
“We 100-percent support Houston firefighters getting a raise, but we are 100-percent opposed to pay parity,” he says. “All we are asking the fire department to do is to compare themselves to their market counterparts – Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and Fort Worth fire departments.”
“In 2014, they had a four-percent raise in their contract and they voted it down 93-percent,” says Gamaldi. “The mayor has now offered them nine-and-a-half percent over three years.”
Marty Lancton, Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, argues the city's tax base continues to grow, that's why voters should approve Prop B.
“It's unfortunate that political talking points are being put out there that are just not true, they are factually false and inaccurate,” he says. “What we have done over the past year-and-a-half is submitted imperical financial data and the city has rejected every effort.”
Mayor Turner warns of hundreds of layoffs if Prop B passes and the city is forced to give HFD upwards of a 25-percent pay hike.
“We refuse to get into a back-and-forth with the police, we don't believe that's appropriate,” says Lancton. “No matter what the mayor is doing, or what other people in other leadership decide to do, the citizens of Houston don't deserve it.”