Houston approves firefighter layoffs amid pay raise fight

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Houston’s city council has approved a plan that would lay off 220 firefighters to pay for a ballot measure approved last year by voters that gives Houston’s firefighters pay parity with city police officers, but which Houston’s mayor says would cost the city up to $100 million annually.

The plan, approved during a meeting Wednesday, would give Mayor Sylvester Turner the authority to go forward with the layoffs.

Turner says doesn’t want to lay off any workers but the action will be necessary to balance the city’s budget.

In a statement, the firefighters’ union said the layoffs would endanger public safety and called Turner an “unaccountable political fraud.”

The plan’s approval comes as the city and the union are in the middle of mediation over how to implement the measure.

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