Your anonymous Houston Fire Department Captain is back with another piece on Houston Mayor Turner.
Our pension has been cut 1.5 billion, saving the taxpayers almost net zero (see Bill Kings article about Houston pension reform post SB 2190 two years ago).
A voter referendum was placed and passed by the constituents of the city of Houston, how much more democratic can you get!?!?
We, Houston Firefighters, asked for one thing. The politicians trump it up to way more than it seems, but if you can pay a police officer xxx amount, can you also pay a Houston Firefighter the same amount.
We have a lot of reasons to ask for such a proposition.
With no real cost of living raise, rising insurance, rising retirement costs, and scraps on the table left over from mayors who spend every penny they can get their hands on, I (two promotions and 15 years of service later) have the exact amount of take home pay as I did in 2008. 11 years ago. Meanwhile i have been training and must be fluent in more types of rescue/response. Active shooter and getting medical care to civilians injured in such events. Hurricane/flood response, wildland firefighting, you name it. The Houston Fire Department is the citizens best chance at surviving an adverse event.
To quote Chief John Eversole-
“Our department takes 1,120 calls every day. Do you know how many of the calls the public expects perfection on? 1,120. Nobody calls the fire department and says, ‘Send me two dumb-ass firemen in a pickup truck.’ In three minutes they want five brain-surgeon decathlon champions to come and solve all their problems.”
We are a ISO class 1 fire department, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance a year to constituents by our response model and results from extinguishment efforts. Some of our guys are Houston residents and voters, many others drive in and spend their days away from their families, with no real attachments to our city, to work for YOU. These “out of towners” are some of the best firemen I have ever known. They have received awards and accolades saving a citizen in cardiac arrest, or pulling a victim out of a burning house. I, as an officer, and you, as the public should be proud and feel a sense of pride that they are willing to die, away from their families for a city they cannot vote in, and citizens who they do not share zipcodes.
The citizens voted in a raise for us, and not the Mayor, him alone, wants to layoff 400 firefighters.
A report recently published by a news outlet showed $400 million in mayoral unchecked spending off projects that came in under budget. No checks and balances. No city council approval. What results? Our houses will still flood, our vehicles are still dismantled by potholes. Your house may still burn down because the fire truck at your station is out of service due to repairs that are unpaid for, and the truck is being held for collateral at a shop outside the city.
See through this, and demand accountability. This is the swamp of politics at its worst.
If the money isnt for what they want it to be spent on, then it becomes a doomsday scenario.
$400 million, unchecked, spending, and we are laying off 1/8 of the fire department over 90 million in increased costs.
This mayor needs to be put back in his place. His donors and contributors cut out of our taxpayer funding. Money needs to go to our basic city services, and the democratic process that has told our elected officials to value all public safety officials equally.
We will still be on the front line, regardless of outcome of ineptitude of elected officials.
I just hope our fight has opened even a small door of accountability towards reforming the swamp that is Houston politics.
(Editor’s note: the writer of this post did not want his/her name published. We have verified that this person is a captain in the fire department.)
Jesus Villanueva says
The mayor is as crocked as the Democrats in Washington. Someone needs to investigate the mayor and the police Chief while they were in Austin for being corrupt. But for some reason people are afraid of him.
HFD Captain, you need to get some education on municipal finances, take a look at the City budget, and tell us where the money to pay for your undeserved raise is going to come from. Police and fire costs exceed property tax collections by several hundred million dollars, and there is a revenue cap that makes it impossible to raise taxes. The rest of the general fund comes from sales taxes, which are at the maximum rate allowed by law. The projects you mention are paid for with bond money, not general fund money. Go learn the difference. Then come back and tell us how to pay for your raise, or which departments need to be the victims of your rent seeking behavior.
If you think you deserve more than the City can offer, do what those of us in the real world do and find another job that pays better.
Russell Harrissse says
American Politicians Have Lost Their Mind.
The first and most important purpose of government is to ensure the survival of the people it governs. The second purpose of government is to establish the framework for society, which supports the first purpose.
At best, they’ve over stepped their authority, simply to keep their elected position. At worst, politicians are taking part in a well orchestrated attempt to turn the USA into a Communist nation. The photos I’ve attached show just a few examples of the diversions they throw at us. Conspiracy theory? Well, you tell me. When the majority of voters do not participate in the electoral process because they believe their vote doesn’t matter, I think they are correct. Most eligible voters aren’t interested in casting their vote for the person that will put on the best show. The people, en masse, do not benefit from anything of the like. The #1 job of our elected officials is to provide for our health, safety and economy. While all of the photos depict events that entertain ‘some’ people, these events are not critical to our survival. Politicians are not elected to ensure ‘the people’ are entertained.
In the case of Sylvester Turner vs the citizens of Houston and the Houston Firefighters, where would you place his priorities? Out of these photographs, which is more important to you?
Hey Ross. As big as a dumbass as you are, your opinion does not matter. The Voters, overwhelmingly said we get our raise. So kiss my ass and call a trash truck when you have your next hear attack.
(Ed Note: Normally I wouldn’t approve a comment like this because it adds nothing to the discussion. That said, Ross is a long time commenter and won’t be offended by this. Obviously this is an emotional issue. Let’s figure out how to fix it. DJ)
I’ve been called worse, by far better. Sure the voters said firefighters get a raise, but said nothing about how to pay for it. We have to live with that decision, as poor as it was. I don’t think the raise is deserved, as the City had no problems recruiting new candidates, and I think the methods used to get the raise reek of rent seeking behavior that I find abhorrent. The old saying “be careful what you wish for” applies here. The remaining firefighters will get their raise, but hundreds will be laid off, and working conditions for the remaining ones will likely change significantly.
It’s you that does not know what they afe talking about. Apparently you do not know what kind of shady deals your mayor is up to and have you seen the six figure salaries he pays his office staff?
I would love to look at the books to see where we should save monies. And maybe you Ross, can figure out a way to get the CEO to show the cities books to everyone. As of yet, not even city council has seen it
The City of Houston budgets and monthly results are at https://www.houstontx.gov/budget/. Have fun.
Ross… how old are you? You are in for a very big surprise. Your rationalization makes no sense. You have no idea what the real world is.
I am almost retirement age, and have a much better idea of the real world than whatever lala land you live in. Do you have specifics on where I am supposedly wrong, or were you just bored?
Mike Zigal says
The Mayors place needs to be in a cell next door to Ray Nagin and Ben Reyes. The Fire Dept. Brings in the most revenue out of any dept. In the city, however, the funds dont go back into HFD budget. Then the FireFighter gets disciplined for the City Hall being renovated for 5.8 mil, Memmorial Park millions, jogging trails millions, Post Oak Blvd. 250 mil. Really. So, in the future you will see garbage trucks going to the hospital with a patient and your family going to forest park instead of a Hospital.
Mike, the Aviation fund and Utilities fund bring in more than any other funds, most funds tied to operating budget departments send any revenue to the general fund, including fire and police. The city hall renovations are mostly coming from donations and some of the hurricane repairs there are out of a bond issue. Much of Memorial Park’s renovations are coming from grants and donations as well, the two TIRZ’s throwing in a bunch too but nothing that could pay for raises. The jogging trails and Post Oak project are also out of TIRZ’s, grants, and bonds so keep trying to find a funding source that can be used for the raises without laying off employees. They will appreciate your efforts.
What revenue does the fire department bring in? All of those expenditure you mention are either out of bond money, which can’t be used for paying firefighters, or are funded by other entities that are not the City. There is no money in the General Fund to pay for Prop B raises without layoffs. Get over it.
HFD brings in around 113$ million a year. HFD has had their budget cut 20$ million a year the past 2 years. HPD has had 100million dollar per year raise almost a week before November elections. HFD revenues around 50$million a year.
Where did CoH find money for that raise? Why couldnt it have been for HFD? HFD lost nearly 1/3rd of their pension to help refund lost payments… I mean, minimal payments that undefunded Municipal and HPD pensions.
They also recieved raises in order to allow the City of Houston to short the pension funds over the years. All the while, HFD kept there pension instead of receiving pay raises.
So whose fault is this? Tell me where they found funds to compensate HPD in a raise that equaled the amount of money ‘HFD should have gotten but yet everyone against paying fireman, state there is no money?
They found it and it wasn’t even in the budget for PD. Yet, we cant find the amount for HFD. Ridiculous.
Funny how this could have all been a non-issue had Turner and Parker made honest and fair negotiations at the table instead of low balling pay increases and raiding HFD’s pension and now vilifying HFD at every corner and every news outlet, any chance they get.
Correction: HFD revenues around 113 mil. HPD around 50$mil.
“What revenue does the fire department bring in?”
– About 50$million more than HPD brings in, with less budget, man power, less pay, and a better approval rating.
Remember, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and oh…. DALLAS all have pay parity between fire and police.
“There is no money in the General Fund to pay for Prop B raises”
– Where did Turner find 100$ million right before the November election to increase HPD pay again when their contract was going to be concluded Jan 1st?
Oh, that was not budgeted, yet, you want HFD to find it? Doesn’t a pay raise for firemen seem needed after HFD lost roughly a third of their pension due to SB-2190?
The City shorted payments in lieu of pay increases to Municipal and HPD pensions while HFD’s was just fine with lower pay in order to keep it.
1 billion dollar pension bond, NOT 1 DOLLAR went to HFD pension.
The CoH voted. Turner and his supporters find every bit of mud to throw on the wall and hope it sticks.
Well, SB 2190 stuck. Now its time to compensate HFD for their “shared” sacrifice and pay them what they should be paid.
Get over it.
Ms. Michell, you continually provide false numbers to go with a narrative and then expect the world to swallow them. HPD’s contract cost nothing this fiscal year, the cost of the multi-year contract about half what you claim ($52.7 million total) instead of the nearly $100 million per year Prop B is expected to cost if fully implemented. If your union agreed to spread out the costs of Prop B over a period of time, it could have been started by now. As far as whether HPD is worth the raise or not, I really have no firm opinion but given HFD’s was so large and demanded immediately, it’s raise was pure greed.
-Remember, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and oh…. DALLAS all have pay parity between fire and police.”
Fine, if you like how those cities are run, by all means go work for one of them.
-“The City shorted payments in lieu of pay increases to Municipal and HPD pensions while HFD’s was just fine with lower pay in order to keep it. 1 billion dollar pension bond, NOT 1 DOLLAR went to HFD pension.”
Under Mayor White, the municipal and police pensions agreed to payment plans that would have better funded their plans had the economy not been so weak. There was nothing from either of their unions agreeing to better pay for weaker pensions to be found but there was a reminder how HFD petitioned to obtain 25% raises when they were approved to have collective bargaining. Along with that came an increase in your pension perks such as more years in DROP. So it seems that the other two groups really financed your increases, not the other way around. Further, the bond was partial payment to the other two groups for money owed them, not to compensate for future losses so HFD demanding a share when those others lost more in pension perks over a decade ago just seems greedy.
SB-2190 was passed by our Republican led and controlled legislature and governor. The suggestion that they didn’t know what they were doing or they were forced by a democrat mayor is just more evidence that HFD’s union and cronies will say anything to get what they want. The whole idea that HFD must be immediately compensated for any haircuts they took from the measure while the other two groups were forced to wait as long as 13 years for partial repayment of funds owed is a topic for another day.
“There was nothing from either of their unions agreeing to better pay for weaker pensions to be found”
Did the City under fund Municipal and HPD pensions since 1997? Under White, Parker, And I think Brown? That is the time, I believe, HPD broke pay parity with HFD and I’m pretty sure since 1997 HPD has gotten significant raises over HFD. 30%+ since 2011 alone.
Yes, it happened.
Now when SB2190 went into effect, did they spread out the hit HFD was taking over a few years? No, they took it all.
Since 2011, could all of these problems been alleviated by negotiating in good faith with HFD and implementing a raise that would have been better than just a cost of living expense per year?
Did the loss of pension HFD sacrificed actually save the CoH around 100 million a year?
Listen, I’m sorry your team lost. This will not end until Turner is out of office. Everyone should realize that by now.
He states there is a hiring freeze… yet HPD cadets are being sworn in as well as municipal workers.
He states there is no money in the budget. HPD had a pay increase this past year and it ran out Jan 1st so in November, he gives them another before the election to inflate the COST of HFD voter approved Prop B. That is fine… apparently there was money. When he stated there was not.
Since 2011 has HPD recieved raises upwards to around 35% when HFD has recieved around 3%? I didnt hear anyone giving them problems.
Have past mayors given raises to Municipal employees just to redact it afterwards? So, redact HPD raises.
Have council members come up with plans to use city property to create greater revenue such as park’n’rides instead of just sitting idle, to help cover costs of HFD pay raised? I think I heard a female council member suggest that.
Has the mayor spent money that really could have been used more efficiently? Bands in Airports. City Hall facelifts… dog parks
How about this. Give the fine members of HFD the 3 year 30% pay raise they deserved before the City negotiating staff told them to “Turn the lights off when you leave” because HFD balked on an offer in which the loss of benefits covered their own pay raise.
You seem to have a lot of information that a normal voter is too ignorant to obtain, so you and that administrative staff should lie in the bed you made.
You are in the minority and will be out, coming this November.
You can scream, “the sky is falling”, only so many times before people start seeing through your bull manure.
You should have thought of that before it came to these tactics in order for the men and women of the Houston Fire Department had to appeal to the voters in order to get something done.
All because Turner, thought he was smarter than everyone else.
I’ve said my piece. I’ll let the few voters reading this, to decide whether or not to believe your rhetoric, or vote Turner out to see someone else could do much better for all parties involved.
Seems to me, only discussion here, is you and Ross patting each others backs just like Turner and his constituents commonly due. GHP, HCDP, and Norton Rose Fulbright
Ms. Mitchell, I’m looking at the funding levels by year and it looks like they fell closer to 2000-probably a result of the Dot.com Crash combined with the need for more funding based on some raises. It’s interesting to see that HFD’s compensation increased significantly during Mayor Brown and White’s terms as well, your union brags about a 25% increase on their website. Not so coincidentally, that raise came after HPD and the municipal pensions were cut more than yours was in 2017, their pensions also cut at that time as well. So it seems more reasonable to conclude that their cuts paid for your raises and increased benefits such as nearly doubling the years they could have in DROP.
So all new employees in those two groups lost tremendous amounts of benefits starting in 2004 and ending in 2017 while yours only had some modest cuts in 2017. Whatever losses you took in 2017 were to stabilize your pension fund, even your pension board called for lowering the discount rate-which added well over a billion dollars in liabilities according to their website. But I’m not on one of the “teams” so while your team gets to see how many are unemployed soon or how much of a raise you will really get, the loser will be the taxpayer. That he decided to initiate a hiring freeze for HFD only makes sense since your union failed to work with him on spreading out the implementation of Prop B.
That the other groups might have had minor raises from a previous contract was budgeted for as a controlled cost and as I pointed out, those groups are always willing to take raises at the end of contract years so the net impact of last year’s agreements with both of them don’t cost a cent during this fiscal year, neither of them as high a raise as you tried to sell us here. Contrast that to HFD’s demands for immediate raises that would need to be funded right now during a budget started last July. That’s a big difference.
None of the proposals to date would pay for even a small part of the raise and your examples were shot down previously but forgetting your union turned down previous raises because they weren’t big enough certainly contributed to this entire fiasco. Your union leader can change that with a simple agreement to spread the raises out but he’s shown that he’s not interested. And for the last time, all the information I’ve provided here came from the publicly available union websites, pension websites, and Bill King’s archives at the newspaper and his blog; if you are calling Bill a liar, you might want to tread softly. Unlike you, I’m not screaming about the sky falling or immediate bankruptcy but lacking a funding mechanism, you have a choice to make on how it all goes down. If your union wants layoffs, keep in mind that the next mayor might not be so generous to workers.
So whether Bill King, Tony Buzbee, or that wrestler wins, you’re going to see their other side. My personal choice would be Bill Frazier, a proven conservative that knows all the intricacies of how to get things done, or even Ed Emmett, though he declined to run when asked. With a new leader, we can all hope that things won’t be business as usual.
Ross, he’s is likely referring to the crazy fees HFD charges to transport people to the hospital or the fines they impose on businesses for fire code violations. Given the total expense of providing those revenue sources, especially since those without insurance rarely pay the transport fees, the claim that they bring in any net revenue at all is a joke. Like the money brought in from tickets the police write, it goes to the general fund and does not serve to boost their budget. Another claim some of them have been shoving down our collective throats is how we all save lots of money because HFD is ISO certified, another falsehood given the major insurance companies offer no such discount, including Allstate, Farmer’s, and State Farm-the biggest insurers of the state. The latest unproven claim is that the area “lost” the Democratic National Convention due solely to the pay dispute. No proof of this claim exists, the leader of the DNC having family in Wisconsin and the state much more likely to swing back to the democrats in 2020 as a battleground state than Texas, but you may have noticed how so many of HFD’s union and their family think the world revolves around them. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest that Houston isn’t hosting the event any more than it bothers me that we lost out on getting one of the Amazon auxiliary headquarters at great expense but the egos required to claim both events hinged on HFD’s demands are laughable at best.
“crazy fees HFD charges to transport people”
City of Houston sets the rate. HFD, as in from the Fire Chief down, do not set the charge rates. They just do their job.
While you are at it, throw in the cost of a Aleve a hospital charges, the price of an emergency room visit a hospital charges, and … why not… the cost a generic drug your pharmacy charges, as a reason why HFD prices seem crazy.
Great try at deflection though. The original question was by Ross,”What revenue does the fire department bring in?”
I answered it.
“we all save lots of money because HFD is ISO certified”
I’ll have to educate myself on the benefits of this ISO rating. I’m guessing government and federal grants as well as 1 tidbit I did find on a quick search.
Houston: Seems to be a little bit here https://houstontx.gov/fire/reportsandstats/iso.pdf
Woodlands: report explained that a community’s ISO rating is critical for both residential and commercial property owners for the simple fact that insurance premium rates are directly affected by the rating.
Now show me your links saying it saves nothing?
“The latest unproven claim is that the area “lost” the Democratic National Convention due solely to the pay dispute.”
Show me the news stating Houston lost the DNC solely due to the labor dispute? All I see, is it was a contributing factor.
Believe it was actually in the Wall Street Journal stating it had a “partial play” in why Houston fell shy. I dunno, just read that in Houston Chronicle and they may lie.
Ms. Mitchell, as pointed out in another response, the police raise did not start in this fiscal year so no additional money was needed unlike HFD union demands for immediate gratification. It was also half your claimed number with a cost over the life of the contract at half Prop B’s cost per year. Phasing in any raise over time is a lot easier than being strong-armed into paying immediately no matter what organization you are in.
Upon looking up the numbers, I came across a statement by Bill King that claimed those of you in DROP lost an average of just over $100,000 but that appeared to come from ending the ongoing COLA’s and method of calculation moving forward rather than actually taking away a future accumulation. That HFD employees are getting bonus checks of close to a million dollars upon retirement, give or take, on top of their monthly checks that average $70, 000 (per your pension reports, Mr. King claims the number is higher) and medical coverage as well makes your claims of how bad you have it sound foolish.
Regarding ISO, when HFD first obtained the rating, I asked my insurance agent just how much I’d save each year. She laughed and said “nothing”. I investigated moving to another company and they all said the same thing, by all means go to the individual insurance company websites and find similar answers. They care more about how far away my house is from a fire hydrant, past claims, and geography than what a private rating firm scores the fire department. But if you put so much stock in a city press release under Mayor Brown, a guy arguably further to the left of Turner than any mayor in our history, I can see why HFD was such a huge backer of Turner when he ran for office. I believe in evidence, not puff pieces when it comes to supposed cost savings and you might have noticed the business community has little faith in ISO’s worth or they’d be more supportive of implementing Prop B.
Regarding the DNC, social media has been going crazy with the same old pro-Prop B/anti-Turner types making the claim. Reporter speculation aside, the city made it to the final round of cuts even though Milwaukee was long stated as the hands on favorite, surpassing many communities that cater to such events. I’m glad they aren’t coming though and if all it takes to keep massive influxes of democrats from invading the city is to question a public safety union’s fiscal demands, lets keep fighting it.
No one in their right mind would want that Democrat freak show, anyway. Plus, it’s almost guaranteed to be a violent affair this time.
Pat Bryan says
All I have ever heard in favor of Prop B was bullshit, lies and bullshit, puppies and firemen and bullshit, jingoistic strawman bullshit, emotional appeal bullshit; absolutely nothing in the way of facts, how much it would cost and where would the money come from. How the voters, Conservative voters, fell for such vapid and offensively ignorant bullshit, I cannot guess.
But I do know that when a Conservative screws up, he will go to his grave wallowing in self-justification and making that same mistake over and over again than admit that he ever screwed up once.
Now Bill King is campaigning with the same factless bullshit that won the firemen Prop B.
Mayor Turner and Controller Brown have solid numbers why Prop B will not work. And all you can come up with is cheesy ad hominem attacks and more factless bullshit.
Firemen and Puppies!
Alex Shaskevich says
I agree that the firemen/firewomen need to be paid according to what the voters voted in. Also, the city will have to raise taxes or cut other services. And there is only so much that the taxes can be raised.
How will this end up, ….Bankruptcy Court.
Say what you want, people voted for this situation. I just will fight every single tax valuation of my property and take every exemption that I am entitled to. Also buy more stuff online and avoid sales tax when I can.
The whole situation is really f— up.
Why is it that so many people take an all or nothing stance to these proposals? There are still fire department employees running around claiming how SB-2190 stole their entire pensions when all it did to existing employees was reduce some future accumulations. The employees getting hurt are those hired after the state legislature and Governor passed the measure, no million dollar or more bonus checks for them.
Likewise, now that the mayor is finally coming around to implement Proposition B, with back pay no less, the same chicken little types are claiming it’s the end of the world as we know it. I’m willing to bet that “up to 400” eventually becomes closer to 250, using attrition for part of that but even if it’s the full 400 it will not stop HFD from putting out fires, sending EMS where needed, and all the other wonderful things that they do. It might mean on those rare days when everything is going crazy that responses take a little longer and it might mean that busier stations get more people at the expense of slower stations but what is the alternative when people don’t want to pay more?
Sales tax are set by the state and property taxes are capped. Any increases in property taxes are already figured into the yearly city budgets and seniors will still be exempted from paying most of them. How many people want to pay a trash fee or greatly increase all the other fees as Mayor Parker did? All the suggested cuts offered up don’t amount to much or can’t be done legally, the latest wild-eyed claim about small contracts sneaking by city council without approval forgets that they were already approved as part of bigger contracts just as they have always been. So should the city shut down the library, steal funds from the airport or utility fund all to appease a group that has never been happy in the past? Just how much more safety can we afford without ending up in bankruptcy court? To hear some of our beloved HFD employees, including the low level employee that wrote the blog entry, they can’t possibly get by with a single less worker or with any changes to how they do things. Honestly, if we’re going to micro-manage other city departments, why not look at some of HFD’s practices too?
I’m not a fan of Turner and like many others here, I look forward to seeing him voted out of office later this year. At that point, perhaps Bill King can go about working out what he calls reasonable solutions to what he considers HFD’s still excessive pensions or Tony Buzbee can streamline the city legal department for big savings. Either of them can eliminate all the fat they refuse to detail so far, tear down useless city departments and perhaps hire experts to run what is left without all the cronyism and nepotism we hear about. Until then, lets not kid ourselves that laying off a few hundred of the least senior employees in HFD is going to cause chaos far and wide.
“There are still fire department employees running around claiming how SB-2190 stole their entire pensions when all it did to existing employees was reduce some future accumulations”
-Wrong. Nearly 1/3rd of their pension (DROP). Existing employees future accumulations?
So, say you work for 40% less than what you should make over 30 years in order to have that comfortable pension at the end of your career. The employer now states,”I’m going to take 34% of those (future earnings) and pay another department that has been getting pay increases, because… well… they allowed us to short their pension. No, no, no. You stay at your same pay rate. Negotiations, well… here is.. 5% over 5 years and we will lessen your off time, increase your contribution to health benefits and we are looking to punish you for using said off time you have accumulated throughout the year. Don’t like it? Turn off the lights when you’re done”.
“The employees getting hurt are those hired after the state legislature and Governor passed the measure”
-Where are you getting this manure? Some retirees live because of a 3% COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) is the only way their pay increases when they got an 80% pension off of 56,000$ a year. With aging comes healthcare costs and insurance isn’t cheap.
So .. retired in the 90’s? Make around 45k a year. 1k a year increase each year to help the effects of inflation.
SB-2190 took some COLA too. It affects retirees.
“the mayor is finally coming around to implement Proposition B”
– The mayor is trying to “phase in Prop B”, has no intention to fully implement Prop B and using “layoffs” and “no money in the budget” as excuses to get HFD to cave into his demands. Yet, Councilmen and women have come up with several ways of implementing Prop B without “layoffs” that the CEO completely ignores.
He has an agenda. He doesn’t like being wrong or not being in authority. He is and has become vindictive and is losing support of the Democratic Party, council members and voters.
He will go down in a fiery ball of flames before Prop B is fully implemented. I bet he would take down Houston with him. Let’s see if the Houston City Council passes the vote on his version of “Prop B” to be installed on May 9th. Votes are counting on it.
“wild-eyed claim about small contracts sneaking by city council without approval forgets that they were already approved as part of bigger contracts”
400$million is just lying around just in case larger contracts need more money? For what? City Hall facelift? Bands in Airports? Another HPD raise that there is no money for? Oh, HPD had another raise, I digress.
“HFD’s still excessive pensions”
Where are these excessive pension numbers? Please link it? Cause, as I said before… If I get paid 40% less a year because I’m promised will be reimbursed through my pension, then get a large portion of that taken away, how is that excessive?
Let do the math.. Say .. 20 year firefighter makes 56,000 a year… Same firefighter in other large cities in Texas make around 80 to 90k…. doing the math… thats around 40% plus, probably more…
So this HFD firefighter, over 30 years, saves the city around 750k in that 30 year span… he now gets that back (DROP program) and a pension of 45k a year.
So he saves the City of Houston 750,000 that he cannot invest, the City does and may have gained interest on, in return for a 45k a year pension with a 3% COLA until the average death of a fireman (which is around 60 years old).
Now, take 1/3rd of that 750k (Have to pay those other pensions) and remove the COLA.
500k, a coffee cup, and a 45k a year pension for 30 years of service and 5 years left to live on average (If entering at 25 and retiring at 55). It is an excessive pension. Let’s not talk about health premiums upon retiring and fighting to outlive the life expectancy of 60 years old.
Yeah, you mathematicians and financial handlers can say I’m oversimplifying this and how far off I am, at least it puts some perspective on what firefighters are dealing with when it comes to Turner and his administration.
Bottom line, pay them what they should be paid and continue to work with first responders (HFD/HPD) in fair negotiations, as they are always working with the public and not working to build fatter wallets for their law firm affiliates and business partners that helped fund them into office.
Ms. Michell, again, all your numbers are suspect and anyone wanting to see how much HFD employees retire on need to pay a visit to your pension website. It shows how many workers retire at how much and shows the massive amounts of funds you still have in DROP accounts. You constantly claim you were given massive cuts to existing pensions when nothing supports that statement, future benefits were cut by the Governor and state legislature based on a great deal of information coming from your own pension system. On top of that, no one wrote each employee an individual contract that there would never be changes, if you disagree you can provide a source but that isn’t how it works.
As far as the constant belief that you are underpaid, you know where to find all those wealthy cities if that is what you want, otherwise be happy that this jerk of a mayor is getting ready to implement such a bonanza for 90% of your union membership. If any on City Council had offered anything of substance to pay for the raises, it was not reported, nor on their individual websites other than CM Boykins showing a willingness to jack up every fee in the book and institute a trash fee that few would be willing to implement. Some of the critics are ignoring the reality of our sewer system failures of late and lobbing likely future rate increases on Turner but refuse to place it in context where the federal authorities are forcing those on the city, no surprises there either.
And I’ve love to see your source of information that HFD employees are facing a mortality rate as bad as you claim. It’s been proven that some rare forms of cancer have a slightly elevated risk of a few percent, even if those are not typically fatal and I’m sure as you age you face the reality of aging just like the rest of us but if you are dying at such a fantastically elevated rate, why is there no proof? For that matter, even if this lie was not true, it wouldn’t impact the cost of your pensions since spouses get 100% of the benefit when you die, a rare perk that few others have ever received. So while I may agree with 95% of your comments on the mayor, the rest of it sounds like someone has been feeding you a load of BS, most union employees at HFD making a lot more in retirement than you are claiming even without those wonderful checks you might note are no longer offered to those in Dallas. But if you want top pay and all that goes with it in those other communities you worship, do yourself a favor and move along.
Larry Barge says
The Mayor is (DELETED BY EDITOR). Next election be careful who you elect. Remember when a politician’s mouth is moving he/she is usually LYING.
Ed. note – please try to bring something to the table for discussion.