Bill King Reacts to Turner’s Firefighter Layoffs
HOUSTON – Bill King, candidate for Houston Mayor, released the following statement today on reports that Sylvester Turner is planning to layoff 400 firefighters to help pay for Prop B.
“It’s outrageous that Sylvester Turner is systematically trying to destroy the fire department because he lost an election. Instead of laying off 400 firefighters, he should be releasing every expenditure in the nearly $400 million of contracts he signed without council or controller approval. The money used to pay those contracts is four times the amount of the alleged cost of Prop B. Sylvester Turner is 100 percent to blame for the budget shortfall because of Prop B, and now he’s putting the public at risk.”
It was revealed at Tuesday’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee Meeting that the Turner Administration has entered into $397 million in contracts without council or controller approval. State law requires the city council and city controller to approve any contract over $50,000, but the Turner Administration has entered into numerous contracts under that amount, thus avoiding scrutiny from council, the controller, and the public. The fact is there may be contracts that should have never been entered into and that money could have been used to pay our firefighters.
Additionally, Turner’s failure to negotiate in good faith with the firefighters in 2017 is what led to Prop B.Turner cut earned benefits to the firefighters as part of pension reform, but did not give them anything in return like he did with the police officers and municipal workers.