In November 2018 in Houston, a ballot measure known as Proposition 8 sought to increase pay for the city’s firefighters on par with first responders in other parts of Texas. Firefighters and EMS Fund was proud to support and stand alongside the firefighters on Houston in their fight for fair and equal compensation. Now, however, the mayor of Houston is examining ways to get around the measure, which was passed with 59% support this past November.
Proposition 8 sought to Firefighters and EMS Fund targeted ballot measures that sought to raise pay for Houston’s firefighters equal to what other first responders, like police officers, have received in the past.
As we recently pointed out, Houston firefighters currently earn about 30% less than their colleagues in the four other largest cities in Texas. In those other four cities (Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio), firefighters earn an average of $51,721 annually. Houston firefighters, on the other hand, earn an average base salary of just $42,121 per year.
Now, however, the future of pay increases for firefighters outlined in Proposition 8, which are set to go in to effect on January 1st, are in doubt after Mayor Sylvester Turner expressed his intent to preempt the measure through litigation.
In Mayor Turner’s view, a judge should have the final say on whether or not to put these pay increases for firefighters in to effect. In other words, the mayor wishes to change the outcome of the referendum because he didn’t like the results.
Firefighters and EMS Fund continues to monitor the situation regarding Proposition 8 in Houston. The mayor’s efforts to change the outcome of a democratically passed referendum are disturbing. The residents of the city have spoken, and they believe their firefighters deserve a pay increase.
Firefighters and EMS Fund stands ready to assist the firefighters of Houston again should this issue continue to be in question in 2019.