Carlos Gimenez wants 10% less pay for workers, other cuts

Carlos Gimenez wants 10% less pay for workers, other cuts
  • Sumo

Some call it payback for the 5% loss and the veto override that arguably strained some of his already-limited ability to negotiate with the county employee unions, but Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is proposing new riveragimenezcontracts that ask for a 10% cut in base pay and hints at a new battle with our county labor leaders, who say the proposed cuts will set employees back decades.

“That’s not going to happen,” said Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera, who said the 10% cut was punitive because the employees were able to get a 5% alleged “healthcare” deduction returned to them after the commission overrode the mayor’s veto in February.

“It’s basically gutting the collective agreement,” said Andy Madtes, president of the big American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees representing the general county workers, referring to other “snapbacks” on benefits that have been negotiated throughout the years.

Neither the PBA nor the big AFSCME had met with the mayor’s bargaining team yet, but the 10 percent and the other concessions — which include the elimination of night pay, court pay, holiday pay and other perks — were outlined in a memo the mayor sent commissioners on Wednesday to update them on contract negotiations.

The memo also says his office has spoken directly with only three unions — the solid waste, the aviation workers and the supervisors union. The three little ones. Other bargaining units are scheduled through the next few weeks as the budget process gets underway. The big AFSCME goes in on Monday.

But labor leaders who spoke to Ladra said that they feel this is a first and “worst case scenario” salvo that even the mayor doesn’t expect to get. Hence the word negotiations. And Carlos II is kind of fond of the bait and switch strategy. You know, propose the worst possible doom and gloogimenezbloatedm picture and then come back with something awful, but not as bad, and people will wipe their brow and say, “Whew. That was close.” Remember the libraries and fire stations he was going to close down? The tiny tax increase? The soccer stadium at the port. The first Miami Heat arena deal compared to the last?

In fact, Ladra would not be surprised if the mayor is really only trying to get back his 5%.

The mayor’s spokesman, Michael Hernandez, went on the Mira TV show Prohibido Callarse Thursday with me and Roberto Rodriguez-Tejera and admitted it was a doom and gloom scenario (my words and his) that was just one of several possibilities. Both the host and another guest, former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez — who, like Ladra, supported Gimenez’s run for mayor in 2011 — said it shows a lack of leadership skills.

It also shows either greed or a really bad grasp of math. The mayor has said that the county is facing between a $160 million to $208 million shortfall. The concessions and 10% would fund way over that — something like $90 million from the big AFSCME alone, according to Madtes.

So why would the mayor propose taking so much from county employees? Again, more likely it’s a bait and switch. “It could have been worse,” people will whisper. Pffft.

Also, didn’t Commissioner Barbara Jordan ask the mayor to please try to look elsewhere and not try, again, to balance the budget on the backs of county employees? There is no indication that anyone is doing that — except the union leaders.

Ladra knows that there is a labor health care committee working on possibly opening up the contract currently held by AvMed to a competitive process. Madtes believes the county can save $60 to $70 million just there. But unless there was a miraculous wormhole opened in the government morass that is known as procurement, that is not likely to happen before the September deadline for new contracts.

Meanwhile, the PBA has a lawsuit to retrieve the 5% they argue was taken illegally from them and they may have a good case. Several county officials, even the mayor himself if I am not mistaken, have admitted that it was never for a general healthcare trust fund. Key word: Trust. They have said publicly already, and it can certainly be documented if so, that it was to balance the budget. It could cost the county millions of dollars if the PBA wins.

Union workers are an easy mark. They don’t have the spin doctors that the county has. They have good, secure jobs in an uncertain world rife with economic upheaval and people get jealous. They also do sometimes have bloated salaries and perks that need to be done away with. Ladra suggests the people who are paid salaries to do union work get paid by the unions and not by the taxpayers while they are off the clock. Their jobs should be held for them to return.

In return, since we’re negotiating, I say the mayor stop including millions of dollars in budgeted positions that the administration has no intention to fill. See if that can cut the shortfall at least by half.

18 Responses to "Carlos Gimenez wants 10% less pay for workers, other cuts"

  1. --anonymous   May 29, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    He has no other strategy but to use the County employees back to supplement the County. This is the elected person by the community and he can’t even find a way to minimize cost. He has only restructure to not lay people off. How about all the open County positions, why not stop hiring and remove all the positions from the budget–this will surely decrease the deficit. So many other ways, truly sad that this so called leader has no other mechanism to use but his own subordinates. What a leader!!!

  2. K-   May 29, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    This mayor is building his political campaign on the backs of Dade county employees. There is an election coming up very soon and he wants to look like he’s doing a great job for his republican constituents. I think county employees should stand up and show their displeasure with Gimenez’s tactics. This is crazy, people are still suffering from the past sacrifices they’ve had to make due to this mayor. County employees provide a lot of services to the citizens of Dade County without which this county would simply crumble. Can’t this mayor find something more positive to use to build his reputation?

  3. anonymous2   May 29, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    AvMed is not the problem with the health plan, it’s the design of the plan. The plan is too rich and management has been trying to restructure the benefits for years. The unions wouldn’t buy in because of the 5%. Now that the 5% is gone, the unions are willing to work on restructuring the plan but can’t make any headway because of the mayor’s my way or the highway bargaining tactics.

  4. Silenced Citizen   May 29, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    How do you hold negotiations with an arrogant liar? My sense is that if he suggests any cuts to public employee salaries, none will be union ratified this time. The employees have voluntarily given money back, then money was taken. No more will be taken without a very public battle. I also get the sense that most of the commissioners are on to this Mayor’s lies.

    The damage this mayor has done to the public services infrastructure will take decades to repair and the full scope of the damage won’t be realized until he’s out of office.

  5. TiredResident   May 30, 2014 at 1:22 am

    “Miami-Dade finds a way to have tourists help pay for police — but only briefly” – Miami-Dade –

    This County Mayor likes playing the shell game. Makes it seem as if he’s helping the home owner.

    His term in office ends in 2016. Are there any bookies giving odds on whether he lasts until then?

  6. Domenic   May 30, 2014 at 6:32 am

    So Andy Madtes is upset at Gimenez’ plans? Well, serves him right for supporting him in 2012 when Joe Martinez tried a valiant effort to prevent King Carlos’s coronation. As for the sheep in wolves clothing John Rivera and all those County employees from Solid Waste and Aviation who voted for Gimenez and the others who stayed home, did not vote or failed to put up a Martinez signature home out of fear of Gimenez, deal with the consequences. This nation was built by people who fought tyranny, not by beggars who hide for the sake of promotions. Feel bad for those county employees who did support Martinez and have been kicked in the rear by Gimenez since he overtook the kingdom.

    • JAM   May 30, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      Well said chairman.
      Get back to your doomed campaign.

      • Daisy   May 31, 2014 at 9:40 pm

        I am not the Chairman but this much I can tell you, between the “Chairman” as you despicably call him and this corrupt and unethical mayor we got saddled with, I prefer Martinez. I know for a fact that he would not have destroyed the infrastructure of county government nor the morale of its employees. As far as the “Chairman’s” doomed campaign as you call it, check out who is backing Curbelo and you get the picture of what’s coming. Many here supported Gimenez then, I hope they don’t make the same mistake this time around.

  7. Tired resident   May 30, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Supporting new zoo infrastructure over saving jobs? Funneling money away from departments for overfunding the zoo? Putting our working public sector neighbors out on the street, unemployed, when illegally found money is flowing?

    “To free more general-fund dollars this year, County Hall diverted more hotel taxes than ZooMiami even needed. The 300-acre attraction in Southern Miami-Dade is budgeted to spend more than $18 million this year, but it receives $11 million in revenue from ticket sales, food sales, buggy rentals and other offerings.

    The zoo relies on government dollars to fill that $7 million gap. But instead of swapping out general-fund money for $7 million in hotel taxes, the Gimenez administration sent the zoo $19 million in CDT, according to a summary provided by the Office of Management and Budget.

    Read more here:

    The Marlin’s ballpark reserve was set up by our last county manager, George Burgess, to prevent the balloon debt payments of over $100,000,000 broadsiding the taxpayers in the decades to come. Saying it can be secretly tapped and repaid is political deceit. This is illegal.

  8. teresita   May 31, 2014 at 11:47 am

    The insurance plan is not designed by AVMED, the county in its infinite wisdom and its lack of leadership put together and gave it to AVMED to implement. With JMH it was a better fit because they asked for the revised plan to be used. This pathetic excuse for a leader, needs to stop hating the county employees. He is a frustrated man with nothing in his personal life to hang his hat on, not respected at home and certainly not by his immediate family, so he takes his frustration out on the little guy (as he plays golf with Beckman or Arison ) how lucky can we get!

  9. chino   June 1, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Ladra…..Raul’s opinion is no longer valid in this community. He sadly has pissed away his stock with the Robaina trial and loss the last time he ran.

  10. not a fan   June 2, 2014 at 9:25 am

    It’s called money laundrying and the zoo is the one getting taken to the cleaners.

    a simplified explanation;

    The zoo operates on their own revenues BUT aways has to give a huge kickback to the general fund.(Mayor) This creates a deficit which is smaller than the kickback and the made up for with general revenue.
    Ya, dumb set up but every department (including priority ones like the library) has to kickback to the administration, it’s how the system works.

    Now the administration wants a larger kickback from the zoo but the zoo needs to do improvements to increase visitors. This improvement money SHOULD come from the general fund pot.

    What Gimenez did was REPLACE the zoo’s general fund money with bed tax money thus keeping general fund money for himself (Keep mind the zoo revenue still getting kicked back to the general fund).

    In other words he is using the zoo (and parks) to laundry bed tax money into the general fund.

    It’s the quintessential shell game, AKA money laundering where supposedly siloed proprietary funds get moved into the general fund. It’s been going on decades.

    my question is why would he call the Herald to tell them about it because I know the Herald couldn’t break this story on their own. Bloggers maybe, the Herald? Never.

  11. Ignacio Natera   June 2, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Today I listened to Mr. Gimenez on a radio show hosted by Ms. Pardo on Radio Mambi, who by the way, never rebuts the Mayor’s answers to her questions and whatever answer he gives she always takes them for granted. The Mayor always tries to put his administration as good as it gets, always finding problems and never solutions or tries to fool listeners into believing what he says like when he said that giving county employees their 5% back was a rise in their salary, when he perfectly knew that it was just giving us back what had been taken off our paycheck for years, and not to increase our salaries. He never mentioned that not only 5% was taken off our salary but that we also have to give 3% for FRS, that the COLA was eliminated and that we had to give 2% back off the previous COLA give to us many years ago. In the library system due to shortage of personal we have to work twice as much, the securities watching the libraries were eliminated as well as the pages. Now he wants to take 10% off which is twice as much what we gave before, and he also says–to sugar coated his actions– that the library services will be cut down and personal reduced, which means lay offs, bad customer service and turning libraries into disaster. I wonder what the unions or workers are going to do about it. He has the money, the only thing is that he does not want to allocate it to the libraries on the grounds that the money cannot be “moved” from a place to another, because of the County laws. The times had changed and County should adjust to the new times and eliminate restrictions and legislate new laws. Gimenez does not like libraries that’s all, the libraries produce culture and not money

  12. Really not a fan   June 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Why is the mayor on the radio today? he is supposed to be in negotiating with his largest union?
    Oh wait, he has no interest in good faith bargaining.. He’ll just send his lackey in with all the demands while he grandstands for the media.

    What a tool!

  13. Jorge C.   June 2, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Funny how this POS Mayor forgets where he comes from. As Mayor, all he’s done is try to cut the benefits and pay of Miami-Dade Firefighters and all other County Employees. The bottom line is that MDFR employees have not gotten a cost of living increase (forget about a raise) since 2006. That year we got a 3% cost of living, which we had to give back to the State FRS, thanks to Gov. Rick Scott. Now Gimenez is asking for a 10% paycut from employees who are basically making 24% less than they were making in 2006. “Nice” from a guy who enjoyed all the benefits of being a member of the City Of Miami’s Firefighter’s Union, and enjoying all their benefits. Now that he’s got his pension and County Mayor’s Salary and benefits, he wants to “eliminate” everybody else’s.
    I think the correct word to summarize this so called Mayor is:”POS” and “Hypocrate”!!
    What he has to remember is that what comes around, goes around!!

  14. miawater   June 3, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Its is sad that the Mayor Of Miami Dade county still has not come up with a better way of sacrificing the employees that make things happen. There is a lot of money spent on projects that have overruns and cost the tax payer a lot of money. Moral is low, how low can the moral get after this. We are making the same amount as back in 2005. No raises, just deductions. The economy is getting back on track. Why not try and balance your budget MR MAYOR, you knew you had the concessions expiring. Why are you spending money on the MIAMI ZOO, Building an underground tunnel for the Port of Miami, a Marlins stadium, etc etc.

  15. Paul Anderson   June 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    “Rats desert a sinking ship”. Mr. Santiago the Miami Dade Library System’s boss, announced he is going to retire, something that, no only him but the rest of those running the system should have done a long time ago, because they knew what was coming on ahead of time and did nothing to prevent it. With all the money he has earned over the years–his salary is public record–by sitting in his air-conditioned office, plus the money he gets outside of the County by running some kind of business–they say–he will have a very happy life while the rest of the employees who face a very dark future struggle to survive and pray for a last minute miracle to save the libraries

  16. Pingback: Carlos Gimenez’s new bait & switch: Pay cuts to benefits | Political Cortadito

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