More Firefighter Layoffs

A layoff letter have been sent out to firefighters.

The Houston Fire Department has been notified that 220 Houston firefighters will be laid off because of the cost of Proposition B.

A spokeswoman for Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says that all of the firefighters who are being let go have received notification that their final day of employment will be June 30.

Prop B was voted in by Houstonians last November.

Read layoff letter

The firefighters union released a statement in response to the layoffs:

"We are deeply disappointed that Samuel Peña has become the first fire chief in Houston history to willingly execute mass layoffs and

demotions of firefighters. From the city’s founding to the Great Depression, to two world wars and deep downturns of the energy industry, no fire chief had taken this course of action until today. Chief Peña now is alone among all Houston fire chiefs in that dubious distinction.

“Chief Peña previously claimed he would meet face-to-face with firefighters affected by the layoffs, but he did not do so today. Instead, he sent a callous email with a link to vague job-search resources. He also did not tell our association of his intentions today when we met with him for more than an hour. At this point, the fire chief is simply enabling the mayor to further punish firefighter families and neglect the city’s fire service. The fire chief is carrying out Sylvester Turner’s slash-and-burn plan for HFD. Our world-class fire department is being destroyed by third-rate politicians with the help of Chief Peña. We also note that the Houston City Council members who knowingly voted for hundreds of firefighter layoffs and demotions – such as Martha Castex-Tatum, Robert Gallegos, David Robinson, and Karla Cisneros – did not have the courage to personally present layoff notices to targeted firefighters in their


“We remind Houstonians that, contrary to what the fire chief claims, reduced fire and EMS coverage will endanger our communities. City-funded analysis confirmed in 2016 that HFD is already understaffed and under-resourced. The forthcoming HFD personnel and service cuts – which follow a generation of neglect of HFD fleet and facilities – will only intensify risks to us and the citizens we serve.”

Chief Pena also released a statement as well:

"The City of Houston has experienced a sizable budget shortfall due to the implementation of Proposition B. Without an agreement to phase-in the cost of $80 to $100 million per year, the city has stated there is no option to balance the budget without a reduction in fire department personnel.

Due to the notification requirement, beginning today firefighters who would be affected by the reduction in force will receive a 60-day layoff notice to be effective June 30, 2019.

This is the most difficult thing I have had to do in my career. No Fire Chief ever wants to be faced with the possibility of firefighter layoffs. I am very concerned with the impact on our employees and my heart aches for the firefighters receiving notices and their families during these uncertain times. I hope that we can reach an agreement with the Fire Union to phase-in the full implementation of Proposition B and avoid the layoffs."

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