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Houston City Controller Delays Certification of Firefighters’ Agreement Pending Further Review

During a Houston City Council meeting on June 5, City Controller Chris Hollins announced a delay in certifying a pending agreement between the city and the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association. Hollins cited the need for additional review before his office can approve the document.

The agreement, which outlines a settlement totaling approximately $650 million, was initially disclosed by the city in March. However, the intricate financial details of the contract sparked contentious debates among City Council members.

Hollins revealed that his office only received the full 150-page document on June 3, leaving insufficient time for thorough examination. He emphasized the importance of comprehending the agreement’s implications before proceeding with certification.

“It’s very common for our office when we receive agenda items, if we don’t have a clear understanding, to go and ask questions of the city departments,” Hollins stated. “But here, before we even ask those questions, it’s our responsibility to simply read the document. We need to understand it before we move forward with it, and we haven’t had enough time to complete our review.”

Certifying the agreement hinges on assessing the availability of funds, Hollins explained. Understanding the financial impact necessitates a detailed examination of the document, a process currently underway.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire acknowledged the likelihood of the agenda item being tagged by a council member, regardless of the controller’s office certification. Tagging allows council members to postpone voting on an agenda item until the subsequent council meeting.

In addition to the firefighters’ agreement, City Council was scheduled to vote on the fiscal year 2024-25 budget during the same meeting. However, this item was tagged and is slated to return for a vote at the next council meeting on June 12.