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Houston Council approves agreement with firefighters, delays BARC reform

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At the regular meeting on March 12, Houston City Council accomplished several milestones on a variety of issues. It approved an interim agreement with the Fire-fighters Union (HPFFA) averting a cash flow crisis that could have resulted in reduced service due to excessive sick leave absences. While the Council was in substantial agreement in principle, they discussed reasons why the unexpected spike in overtime pay occurred, errors within the Fire Department's financial oversight, implications for future budget, and measures to avoid similar problems in the future. (item 13)

The Council also moved about 20 subsidized housing projects one step further in the process of applying for state housing grants. Items 9 and 10)

A proposed extensive revision of Chapter 6 of the Houston Code of Ordinances proposed by BARC was tagged by Council Member Laster to allow time for the Council members to review it more thoroughly. Since City Council will not meet next Wednesday, the effect of the tag was a 2-week delay.

In other matters, the Council held a public hearing on annexation of undeveloped land in the vicinity of Aldine Westfield south-east of Richey Road (See item 1). In the absence of objection, the annexation will be presented as an ordinance at a future meeting

The Council also confirmed the appointment of Patrick Walsh as Director of Planning and Development. Mr. Walsh has served as interim director since November 14, 2013. (See item 2) The Council also confirmed the appointment of 6 members of the Board of Directors of the Greater East End Management District for terms to expire June 1, 2017. (see item 3)

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