Further escalating the fight between Mayor Sylvester Turner’s administration and employees of the Houston Fire Department, more than 90 district chiefs signed a letter calling for a vote of “no confidence” in Fire Chief Sam Peña.
Shortly after the district chiefs released their letter, Turner responded with a statement saying he stands behind Peña and will continue to support him.
“I have every confidence in Chief Sam Peña. Not only is he doing a great job for the Houston Fire Department, but he is also doing an excellent job for the City of Houston.
What the union is doing is 100 percent political and I am certain that the public will see it for what it is.”
The group of district chiefs followed up their letter with an afternoon press conference at the headquarters of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association with HPFFA Senior Counsel Troy Blakeney, and two district chiefs.
“Under the protocol of the union that vote will be taken within the next week or so,” said Blakeney, “it will take a week or 10 days for that to be tallied as that moves forward and it will be made public.”
One district chief, Chief Davis, said that men and women of HFD approached them about safety concerns stemming from a lack of leadership and direction.
After the conference, Chief Peña released a statement defending the work he has done and his dedication to HFD.
“Since day one of my appointment, I have extended the union an open door policy and access in hopes of working together to address the challenges of operating a large department.
The continued strategy to discount and discredit the positive work this administration has done is divisive and unnecessary. I know that at the core of their discontent is the union’s inability to negotiate a contract for its members.”
Peña ended it saying, “My focus will remain on working to resolve the challenges we face. The City of Houston deserves nothing less than a professional Fire Department ready to preserve the public safety and care for the most vulnerable in our community.”
Blakeney said the vote will take place sometime in the next week.