HOUSTON, TX — A district judge issued a temporary restraining order against Mayor Sylvester Turner in the latest chapter of the long-standing dispute with the firefighter’s union over a pay parity initiative.
The Houston Professional Firefighter’s Association claims Turner and council member Dave Martin, who is also named in the suit, used a meeting last week at the council’s subcommittee on finance to campaign against the initiative that would establish “pay parity” between police officers and firefighters.
The city has been instructed to remove video of the finance meeting from the city’s website.
“Turner and Martin directly advocated against the measure,” the suit claims.
In a news conference Tuesday afternoon, HPFFA attorney Cris Feldman said Turner and Martin’s actions were campaigning against the measure using city resources.
“All we want is a vote, up or down,” Feldman said.
Turner made no secret that he believes the issue will be very expensive and could end in layoffs for the city.
“I believe the judge erred in his ruling,” Turner said in a Twitter statement.
“The lawsuit the Houston Professional Firefighters Association has brought against me is a disservice to the public and their right to transparency,” Martin said in a statement. “I have not used the Budget and Fiscal Affairs (BFA) Committee to ‘electioneer’ as no positions to support or oppose pay parity were a topic of conversation. What my committee did discuss, was the possible fiscal implications of the proposed Firefighter Charter Amendment that will be on the ballot in November. ”