Making an even stronger case for why Texas’ municipal pension systems should be handled locally, and why voters should retire some lawmakers by force, a member of the Texas House took to Twitter to threaten the pension plans of Houston Firefighters who called him out for ignoring their concerns.

The firefighters have been taking to social media en masse since pension negotiations broke down between their representatives and the City of Houston. Relying solely on information and the guidance of former-state representative, and current Democrat Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and his allies, State Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van) carried Turner’s omnibus pension bill that disproportionately affected firefighters.

Throughout the process, Flynn and his allies have repeatedly shown they are only interested in carrying the water of their long-time friend Sylvester Turner rather than engage with those who voice concern about his plan.

Turner’s bill contains $1 billion in pension obligations bonds, none of which was going to be given to the firefighters. Yet despite gaining nothing from the plan, they were expected to take equally as steep cuts to their benefits as the two other public employee unions.

After a number of them tweeted at him over the past few days to ask him to reconsider his support for a plan that could severely impact their retirement plans, Flynn retaliated in what appeared to be a drunken rant.

“You want to continue your insults. I can work against your plan,” Flynn tweeted, “Your representatives never worked in good faith.”

In another, Flynn tweeted, “You may not want me working against you.”

Flynn’s attacks on the Houston firefighters were particularly egregious because they aren’t an isolated incident. Rather, Flynn (and Texas House leadership) have repeatedly shown contempt for the firefighters valid and courteous criticisms of the plan.

Mind you, many of these employees couldn’t make it to Austin to voice concern on the bill because of work obligations, and those that did make it were met with disrespect as they waited hours for the bill to be heard on the house floor only for leadership to adjourn without even debating it.

Flynn’s temper tantrum and Twitter tirade should remind Texans that he is wholly unfit to hold public office. It also exemplifies the problem with state control over municipal pensions.

A bitter lawmaker from a small town in East Texas should not be able to threaten the livelihood of public employees in Houston simply because he didn’t like their tweets. Especially when those public employees are not his constituents, and have little recourse other than coming to him with their concerns.

For those who are his constituents, just because Flynn deleted his tweets, doesn’t mean his actions should be forgotten. Indeed, by showing his arrogance and treating Texas citizens’ concerns as a mere annoyance he’s shown that he deserves to be forcibly retired. Flynn already has an opponent in his upcoming primary election, Bryan Slaton, and voters should seriously consider him.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.


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