Houston Woman Wire

NEWS City announces proposed new contract for HPD

Houston Mayor Annise Parker was joined by Houston Police Officers Union President Ray Hunt this morning to announce a proposed new contract for the rank and file at the Houston Police Department (HPD). 

The agreement, which requires ratification by union membership and City Council’s approval, addresses pay concerns that have hindered HPD’s ability to attract and retain officers. It also includes several cost-saving concessions.

“This contract will for the first time in a long time bring HPD’s entry-level salary to market level,” said Parker. “It will also address market inequities in ranks at HPD that are currently being paid below the market. HPD is the premiere law enforcement organization in Texas. To maintain that position and continue to be able to offer the best crime-fighting services around, we have to retain our veteran officers as long as possible and be an attractive career prospect for young recruits. That means offering competitive salaries.”

The contract includes the following pay adjustments:

  • An increase in base pay for probationary officers from $35,000 to $42,000, effective June 1, 2015
  • $32 million of adjustments starting in July 2016 and spread out over two years to address market inequities within various ranks 
  • A 3.48 percent across-the-board increase on July 1, 2018

In addition, the agreement modifies the City’s financial obligation for accrued time off when an officer leaves the department, creates a financial incentive for officers to pass an annual physical agility test, eliminates paid time off for physical fitness training, changes the promotional testing systems to help ensure all officers have equal opportunity to be promoted and creates a financial incentive to entice experienced officers to pursue investigative positions.

“The men and women of the Houston Police Department thank Mayor Parker, former City Attorney David Feldman, current City Attorney Donna Edmundson and Assistant City Attorney Natalie Deluca for negotiating an extremely fair contract for both the officers and the citizens who pay our salaries,” said HPOU President Ray Hunt.

The rank and file was scheduled to begin voting on the agreement this afternoon. It will be on the City Council agenda for consideration February 18. Providing these necessary approvals are obtained, the agreement will become effective immediately and last until December 31, 2018. The rank and file will receive two percent cost-of-living adjustments July 1, 2019 if there is no agreement on a new contract by then.

 

NEWS $830K grant awarded for Busby Park

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department has been awarded an $830,000 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Urban Outdoor Grant for Busby Park. The grant will be matched with Capital Improvement Project monies to complete a $1.6 million dollar renovation of Busby Park. The grant is one of four recommended for awarding by the T.P.W.D. Commission on January 22.

"Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grant funds make a difference in the lives of our communities here in Houston and across the state," said Joe Turner, director, Houston Parks and Recreation Department. "The Busby Park grant, for example, will provide outdoor recreational opportunities for the Houston-Trinity Gardens and Kashmere Gardens neighborhoods. We are very appreciative to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for this grant funding."

Since 2004, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department has been awarded 16 grants totalling over $12 million dollars in grant funds from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in the form of Urban Outdoor, Urban Indoor, Recreational Trail and CO-OP grants.

The $1.6 million dollar renovation project will redesign the park to include outdoor recreational opportunities and a natural element to the park. The scope of work includes: design and construction services, demolition, site preparation, and grading. The proposed features of the project include: new playground development, a practice field with back stop and soccer goals, a community and rain garden and a prairie habitat area,  outdoor exercise stations, a walking trail, a half basketball court, a seating plaza with specialty paving, picnic tables, benches and trash cans, picnic shelter with grill, perimeter fencing, site lighting, as well as native tree plantings with associated drip irrigation.

 

 

 

EVENT 18th Annual Table Talk set for March 6 at Hilton Americas

The University of Houston’s Friends of Women’s Studies present Table Talk 2015 on Friday, March 6 at the Hilton Americas. 

Table Talk, one of Houston's premier networking luncheons, brings together a dynamic and diverse group of Houston women in a format that builds connections in support of the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at the University of Houston. Table Talk 2015, the 18th annual, honors 50 Houston women of accomplishment from many fields and backgrounds. With one conversationalist at each table, all will share their life experiences and stories with the guests seated with them. 

Event co-chairs are Caroline Fant and Mandy Kao, and the honorary chair is Tina Knowles.

Conversationalists this year include, among others, Mayor Annise Parker, Fashion Entrepreneur Tina Knowles, Annell Bay of Apache Energy, Deloitte Managing Director Anne Taylor, Brown University President Emerita Dr. Ruth Simmons, opera singer Barbara Padilla, Hermann Park Conservancy Board Member Marley Lott, Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. Elizabeth Chiao, social activist Jacqueline Bostic, family therapist Purva Patel, and MSN reporter and screenwriter Kristin Wong. To see the complete list of conversationalists, visit http://www.uh.edu/.

Sponsored by the University Houston’s Friends of Women’s Studies, proceeds from this major fund-raising event benefit the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program and the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive and Research Collectionat the University of Houston, supporting scholarships, cutting-edge research on women and gender, community programming and historic preservation.



NEWS City of Houston files amended pastors subpoenas

As follow up to a promise made earlier in the week, the City of Houston has revised its subpoenas in the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) repeal petition case. The disputed request has been narrowed to focus solely on communications related to HERO and the petition gathering process. There is no mention whatsoever of pastors sermons.

“The original subpoenas for sermons that were filed by pro bono attorneys helping the city prepare for the January trial in this case were far too broad,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “I support the right of the clergy to say whatever they want to say, even if I disagree with them. This is not about what they may be preaching from the pulpit. It is about proving the petition-gathering process organized by these pastors did not meet the requirements of the City Charter. This information is critical to proving the city’s contention that the petition was ineligible for placement on the ballot and that the organizers knew this.”

The city is seeking information from just five pastors who were at the forefront of organizing the petition drive: Pastor Hernan Castano, Ms. Magda Hermida, Pastor Khan Huynh, Pastor Steve Riggle and Pastor David Welch.

The revised subpoenas now call for all speeches or presentations related to HERO or the petition prepared by, delivered by, revised by or approved by them or in their possession.

According to the City Charter, a valid petition must contain enough signatures of registered voters to at least equal 10 percent of the total votes cast in the last mayoral election. Each signature must be accompanied by the printed name, address, voter registration number or date of birth and the date signed. Anyone who collected signatures must also have personally signed the petition and have appeared before a notary to acknowledge under oath that the signatures were made in their presence.

Thousands of the signatures submitted with the HERO petition failed to meet one or more of these requirements and had to be disregarded. As a result, the petition could not be placed before voters. HERO opponents have filed suit against the city in an effort to reverse this decision and force the issue onto the ballot. The case is set for trial in January.

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