The layoffs continued Thursday for city of Houston employees. As of the close of business a total of 634 employees have received notice that their jobs are being eliminated.
Those notified on Thursday include 3 in the finance department, 99 in the Parks Department, 75 in the health department.
For the first time, Houston Fire Chief Terry Garrison is confirming that pink slips are being passed out in his department.
So far the cuts impact 12 civilian employees. Chief Garrison released this statement regarding the civilians who were laid off.
“In order to meet the need to reduce the size of the department’s budget for Fiscal Year 2012, the Houston Fire Department has begun staff reductions. Layoff notifications have been given to some of our civilian staff members.
These personnel changes represent just over $1 million dollars in reduction of expenditures.
These members of our staff have served the city well. It is a difficult day for all of us.
At this time, there have been no layoffs of classified personnel. Work continues to find additional savings in hopes of avoiding this altogether. A very important part of that involves our work with classified Labor through the collective bargaining process. Both sides of the table are compelled to find solutions in order to meet the budget shortfalls. We all know that decreasing the number of firefighters could have a direct impact on our ability to deliver our service. And we all agree, that maintaining our level of service is most critical.”
Meanwhile, classified employees – firefighters – are scheduled to resume face to face collective bargaining with the city on Friday.
Earlier this week both sides worked to find a compromise that would balance saving the city money while allowing firefighters to keep their jobs.
The city wants the firefighters to accept an interim 18-month contract with a significant number of concessions. One proposal calls for retired firefighters to receive their unused vacation payout over four years instead of in one lump sum when they leave the department.
However, the union wants some assurance that those concessions would be short-term and the firefighters would regain their benefits after the compromise contract expired.