Carlos Gimenez cuts 21 jobs while he pays 520 ghost workers

Carlos Gimenez cuts 21 jobs while he pays 520 ghost workers
  • Sumo
Carlos Gimenez
At the State of the County address last month, Carlos Gimenez said he would treat employees fairly

Although the county has more than 500 vacant budgeted positions — salaries that are never collected though the expenditures are reflected in the 2014-2015 budget — Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has laid off almost two dozen county employees so far this year.

These are reportedly only the first “heads to roll” in an expected employee purge that some say is necessary and others say is retaliatory — and could arguably be both.

The 21 pink slips have been in the last two months, the mayor said, and that was before commissioners voted to override the mayor’s veto and restore the 5% they had been taking from employees for five years back to their paychecks, a move that widened the budget gap even more — from $42 or $44 to about $70 million, depending on the source cited — and caused the mayor to threaten further layoffs.

And while Ladra agrees with some who say that county government could use a little streamline surgery — do we really need five deputy mayors, 12 mayoral aides and two port directors? — sources close to County Hall say that at least some of the job cuts may not have been necessary. They suggested that at least some of the employees in five of the 26 departments — audit and management, community information and outreach, and police support personnel — are only being fired so the mayor can prove himself a point and get back at commissioners and union leaders for defying him.

You can sorta hear an “I told you so” tone in the memo Gimenez sent to commissioners late Thursday, while he was at a comfortable distance in Tallahassee pushing the county’s priorities.

The cutbacks “will result in a reduced number of audits, affect internal controls, and lessen maintenance and support of personnel and facility resources,” Gimenez said. “Existing staff will be absorbing more work.”

Audits and internal controls, huh? Anyone else see red flags here?

And while he boasts of eliminating 68 vacant positions across the county, that still leaves about 520 jobs that are budgeted and unfilled.

In other words: There are 520 paychecks budgeted that do not get written, that do not get paid, that do not get cashed. Where does that money go? Sounds like a scam to me. And might we have been able to maintain audits, internal controls and maintenance of support of personnel and facility resources had we eliminated a few more of those ghost employees?

Of course, we could have. But where is the drama in that? Where is the payback? Where is the opportunity for “I told you so?”

Lisa Martinez, left, is the new Chip Iglesias, right

Several Miami-Dade employees and County Hall insiders told Ladra that after the 5% vote, department heads had come up with “efficiencies,” or savings in plain English, that would address the shortfalls in their individual divisions. Those same sources say that Deputy Mayor Genaro “Chip” Iglesias was happy to hear that — and wanted to go back to Gimenez with the good news — but that Lisa Martinez, the newly appointed chief of staff who was a senior adviser to the mayor at the time and a schoolteacher in Coconut Grove ten years ago, was not so chipper.

“She said the mayor wanted bodies,” said a labor leader who spoke to someone who was at the meeting. “She made it very clear that she was there on behalf of the mayor to express his wishes.”

Shortly after that exchange, Martinez was made chief of staff and Chip — a fellow firefighter who rose with Gimenez at the Miami Fire Department and then moved with him to City Hall when Gimenez was made Miami City Manager — was relegated to the doomed Major League Soccer stadium fiasco. Political insiders and a couple people close to him are calling Iglesias a “short timer.”

Hey, that may be one less person — or two or three or even four, at Chip’s salary — that Gimenez has to lay off.

Or it may become one more vacant budgeted position.

11 Responses to "Carlos Gimenez cuts 21 jobs while he pays 520 ghost workers"

  1. Tired Resident   March 14, 2014 at 8:44 am

    You pulled out the truths from the half truths.

  2. teresita   March 14, 2014 at 9:19 am

    If you sacrifice audits and internal controls,it becomes nothing but a set up for the Mayor and his band of ladrones to really put their hands in the honey jar. Some ones needs to wake up and smell the coffee ( or the rotten food )!!!:(

  3. Domenic   March 14, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    The musical chair game played by Gimenez and his goon squad of deputy mayors will explode in their faces soon. Any manager with serious experience will tell you that you cannot remove a certain number of parts from a machine before you affect its overall operation. Gimenez just cancelled two police recruit classes. That amounts to 50 or 60 police officers that will not begin a year long process to obtain their certification. Gimenez claims he will replace patrol officers by raiding specialized units and adds that such fatal error will solve the problem. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Think of a police department as an elephant herd, where seasoned detectives train rookies to conduct long term investigations that lead to arrests in the areas of auto thefts, organized crime, public corruption, street narcotics, etc. By cutting specialized units, Gimenez is setting the county’s police department in a downward spiral. If you have had enough of Gimenez’s antics or if his associations to shady consultants and contractors leave a sour taste in your mouth, help kick him out of office in 2016. That shall fix his little red wagon.

  4. Pingback: Miami-Dade Police cuts by Carlos Gimenez cause concern | Political Cortadito

  5. Ladra   March 14, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    My Dear Domenic, were you reading my mind?

    I was writing the very next post, about the very problems you speak of at the police department, as you wrote this comment.

  6. Maria Martinez   March 14, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Lisa Martinez (a school teacher) before chief advisor, Well, maybe Golden Boy Gimenez;s wife miss Golden Girl GImenez got Ms. Martinez the job. After all, Mrs. Gimenez is a well connected administrator in the Miami-Dade School Board. How about them apples. We all need to put a big fire…Carlos Gimenez – He should be recalled he is worse than Alvarez (Burgess was the one running the County not Alvarez). IT is only going to get a lot worse with the pompous mayor.

  7. Domenic   March 14, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Elaine, there are two ways to deal with Gimenez and bring good government back to the citizens of our county. We can try to recall him or we can lobby the BCC to put an amendment on the ballot for a vote to allow the county sheriff to become an elected position rather than having an appointed police director. A recall of Gimenez is possible. Carlos Alvarez was recalled for supporting the Marlins stadium. Gimenez has supported the Dolphin stadium proposals throughout his tenure; he fully supports a soccer stadium at the Port of Miami (of all places), and he continues to give tax breaks to the Heat and the Marlins! In fact Gimenez is an Alvarez to the 10th degree. Another way to wrest power from him is an elected sheriff format. Picture an elected sheriff creating a unit for the purpose of watching the activities of lobbyists and contractors! Guarantee you the visits to Gimenez’s office by his preferred cronies would be severely curtailed. As taxpayers and honest citizens we owe it to our kids to fight for a transparent form of government. If enough of us care, we can make a change.

  8. Frank Moreno   March 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    He is bringing city of Miami politics to the county. The county has always been better , until now. He doesn’t care about the county’s public safety because he lives in Coral Gables.

  9. Grumpy Old Man Who Votes   March 16, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Domenic, there are pros and cons to an elected chiefm but you shift the power from the mayor to the union. I’m not so sure I like that because I think the collective bargaining has to be brutal but honest and this will interfere with that. This is not like having an elected property tax czar. I sort of like how that one turned out with C-Lo butting heads with the mayor over assessments.

  10. Frank Moreno   March 17, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    I’ll tell you what’s a step in the right direction, get rid of the strong mayor. All that power should not be had by one man. It was bad for Alvarez and certainly bad for gimenez. Strong mayor, makes it easy for a dictator.

  11. Domenic   March 18, 2014 at 4:21 am

    This strong mayor format has brought us nothing but trouble. The way Gimenez sees it, it was coronation and a license to sack knowledgeable department directors and have them replaced with yes men and women who sacrifice work ethic in exchange for a promotion or a pay raise. The damage caused to the county infrastructure by Gimenez is intentional. It is intended to maintain in place a state of chaos in which neither the employees nor the citizens can discern the assault on public monies by connected lobbyists and contractors. By surrounding himself with the anti-tax flag, the citizens of this county gave Gimenez the keys to the kingdom. Unless the strong mayor format is repealed, this exercise in futility will be repeated when the next tyrant arrives in office in 2020.


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