Houston Police-Fire Pay Parity Bill Goes Into Effect

Harris County Judge Randy Wilson has refused to extend a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of a voter-approved initiate to guaranty pay parity between Houston police and firefighters. The initiate known as Proposition B was adopted in November by a 59% majority at the behest of Houston firefighters.

The city and the police union sought to block implementation of the provision claiming its implementation would cost taxpayers $100 million per year. In ruling in favor of the firefighters, Judge Wilson reasoned:

  • “The balance of equities weighs in favor of firefighters after the Houston voters decided they would rather have pay parity.”
  • “The Pay Parity Amendment does not violate public policy, is not unconstitutionally vague, and can be addressed through the initiative process.”

Houston’s KTRK Channel 13 quoted a statement from the Houston Police Officers Union as saying:

  • “While the HPOU feels for the fire employees who may be laid off and the reduction of services to the public, we have done everything in our power to stop the catastrophic effects of Prop B.” 
  • “Fire union leaders have said the Mayor is only bluffing and layoffs are a scare tactic. We shall see.”

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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