Houston asking state to force negotiations.
Houston's mayor plans to ask Texas lawmakers for help in reigning in firefighter's pensions, by enacting a state law forcing negotiations.
The Parker administration argues some retired firefighters are collecting up to 170 percent of their former base salaries, and the cost will balloon out of control by 2015.
All this comes as the two sides prepare to begin contract talks later this month.
"What the mayor is trying to do is go back against her promise to the actives and retirees, and take away their hard earned benefits," says Todd Clark with the Houston Firefighters' Relief and Retirement Fund.
"We don't need a formal law to sit down with her," Clark tells KTRH News. "We have never ever declined a meeting with her."
Clark points out the state comptroller ruled the firefighters’ pension fund the second best in the state.
A city-paid pension consultant told Houston City Council on Tuesday, a ‘meet and confer’ law is what's needed to get firefighters back to the table.
However, some Council members aren't so sure about it.
"I would hate to see a lot of our employees jump ship or leave because they feel concerned that someone could potentially impact their pension," said City Councilman Ed Gonzalez.
Fellow Council member Jack Christie voiced similar concerns.
"If reasonable people can't sit down and solve future finances, but we have to go through a political process, either going through the state or federal government, then we're just wasting our time," said Christie.