Monday, February 20, 2012

Seaport Cops Getting a Bad Deal? Guest Blog by Copper

This is a guest blog by Copper. He/She submitted it, I am printing it. I do not agree or disagree with what is written. It just seemed REALLY interesting. It also illustrates how privatization sucks. Real people lose their good paying, what they thought were 'secure' jobs. - Geniusofdespair
In the county there is such a thing as bumping rights. Instead of getting fired or laid off, if you have ever held another position in the county, you can rightfully bump someone out of that spot and still have a job.
A number of cops and other county employees were about to get laid off to balance the budget. But, fear not, instead of laying them off, the Airport and Seaport took 30 each of the highest paying maxed-out in pay cops and added them to their tab.

This seems noble enough... Right...? Wrong!!! Because little do people know...that Miami Dade Seaport is looking to privatize a whole department and the County is privatizing other departments as well. LAYOFFS loom! At the bottom of the food chain is Miami Dade Seaport Enforcement Officers. Who are these guys and gals? They are cops without arrest powers or guns. There are a little over 100 of them. So essentially, you have two police forces working at the Port. How does Miami Dade police get away with being there and maxing out on overtime? sneaky little secrets.

To top it off, Just this past week, a Seaport Enforcement Officer was to be laid off...a VETERAN, because he is getting bumped by a cop who was on the list of police officers selected by Mayor Gimenez to get laid off. He once worked at the port as a Seaport Enforcement Officer. Let me explain.

In the county there is such a thing as bumping rights. Instead of getting fired or laid off, if you have ever held another position in the county, you can rightfully bump someone out of that spot and still have a job. Back to the story...The veteran getting laid off….Wait...laid off???? The Port can apparently afford 30 more cops, but not one more Seaport Enforcement Officer.

The follow up:

I have come to find out the whole department is getting laid off, due to privatization. The Port administration has been quietly getting proposals to privatize Port Security. How does this affect everyone? Well, for those people who cruise frequently, consider you were being guarded by a professional enforcement officer making an average of $25.00 an hour, with either 10 years plus in security experience or prior military/law enforcement to a $9 an hour security guard. These $9 guards will be guarding what has been labeled the “Cruise Capital of the World”.  This was once the only port in compliance with security standards, it was an exemplary port for others to follow. As the port director said it best...the most secure port... Yet now he wants to fire the whole lot of them?

The port keeps promising all the cruise lines top notch security, little do these companies know in only months to come, the security posture is going from hero’s to zero’s. They were fed all the glorious accolades the port has on security, and in reality, it’s not what will be here when all these new companies come to the port.

I'm all for employing veterans, isn’t the unemployment rate for vets high? Yet here you have veterans working and they are about to get laid off!! Lots of veterans.

The port boasts about creating jobs with this tunnel project. NOT!!! All these jobs created by the tunnel are for companies outside of Florida that were contracted by the Port. We are helping the economy of other States. I'm still having a hard time understanding the mind set. Lets fire hundreds of people that can pay for their mortgage and cars and bills, so that we can hire people that can only afford to pay cell phone bills. How does that help the economy.

There are lots of people that are about to retire from this department, don’t veterans deserve jobs such as these upon their return from deployments? Working for the County where there are benefits. The County doesn’t seem to think so, they would rather give jobs to private companies that don’t offer benefits or job security. Companies, that for the most part, are out of state companies. 

The bad part about all this, is how there are people in the current security administration that have jobs lined up with these private security companies that are bidding for the security contract. Dealing with them behind the curtains.  For example. There is a supervisor in seaport security that was hired by the county who previously worked for a private security company. Today that same security company is one of five bidding for the contract.

Seaport security isn't the only department  getting privatized. There is preconceived notions towards government employees, not all are the same. There are good employees and bad employees everywhere. People deserve to keep their jobs.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The additional police officers are not costing the port any additional money. They are being paid for by the savings from reduced overtime at the port.

Ernie said...

This article makes no sense. First, the Police Officer classification and the Seaport Enforcement Specialist classifications are completely separate positions. Someone with high seniority as a County Police Officer can stay on as a Police Officer as long as he or she desires even if there are layoffs. No one can force out someone with high seniority through a reduction in force.

Second, in case people missed the recent resolution of the PBA contract dispute, there will be ZERO layoffs of County Police Officers.

Third, let's suppose some day there are layoffs and low seniority Police Officers are laid off. Those individuals would be very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue their employment as County Seaport Enforcement Specialists. It would be a way for them to stay in the Florida Retirement System in a public safety position (which is very favorable for retirement purposes).

Finally, the potential privatization of the seaport security force doesn't sound like a bad idea if it can be done effectively for a lower price. Government employees need to understand that government exists to serve the public. It does not exist to keep them employed for the rest of their lives.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't that RFP put out to the public?

youbetcha' said...

I am not sure what the issue is here. I think the rfp should be a publicly advertised thing. And I think the privatization issue better be a public discussion.

I know that there has been talk of privatizing other departments before... And departments were allowed to prove they were the better service providers.

I think public services should provided by public employees. They are answerable to me as a voter through their bosses. It is up to us to make sure that we get the quality of service we want.

Privatizing a department takes the control out of the county's hands and it is a real headache when there are issues with the function of the entity. County departments do not sue the county when they are criticized for poor performance. they improve or lose their jobs.

With a private company, we would be in court having to prove that they did not provide to the contract specifications. By the time it resolved, the county has spent more than the cost savings it was supposed to obtain.

I am against private services.

Anonymous said...

Remember the Wackenhut fiasco?

Anonymous said...

To understand privatization of seaport security and it's subsequent results, one can see first hand by looking north to Broward County. Port Everglades privatized their security services a couple of years ago. Realizing homeland security did not require certified police protection, only security, they were able to cut cost by millions of dollars eliminating dozens of Broward Sheriff Deputies at checkpoints and roving patrol.A skeleton crew of BSO Deputies remain today. Basically, Port Everglades replaced professional high paying public sector police jobs with low paying inexperienced private sector security positions. Interestingly enough there are not a lot of savings doing this. The security firm awarded the work, Allied-Barton, is charging big bucks that enriches the private business owner instead of paying the local public servants that were there. Allied-Barton in turn politically enriches and pays off those with the ability to award this type of contract. You end up with fat cats getting fatter and the middle income earners being replaced with low income earners. Net effect, very little savings if any at all! The old saying rings true, you get what you pay for. A scary thought for one of the biggest target hazards and largest passenger cruise ports in the Southeastern United States.

Anonymous said...

Ernie is right when he said Police Officers and Seaport Enforcement Specialist are completely separeted positions and about the seniorty and reduction in force and also with the contrat resolution of PBA's zero lay off of county Police Officers.

What some people don't know is that the Seaport and Air Port are self sustaining Ports. Meaning that the Ports doesn't use tax payers money to pay the salaries and fringe benefits of all the county employees, which include the Police Officers, that work at the Ports. The Seaport and Air Port generate their own moneies by charging companies who want to do business at these Ports, shipping companies, cruise companies, cargo ships, etc, etc.

What some people also don't know it the these 30 Police Officers will be taken of the streets, where they are need the most, and will only be partolling at the Seaport. The Police Officers salaries, fringe beneifits, vehicle maintenance, gas for vehicle, etc,etc. These expenditurs will come from the Seaport Enforcement Specialist budget which will hurt the Seaport Enforcement Officers. Expenses will not be there for their training, the up keep of their vehicles, the up keep their cerificates, etc,etc.

The privatization or outsourcing can alwaye be one at all levels of government, which include the Police Dept, Fire Dept, Correction Dept, Seaport Dept, Air Port Dept, etc, etc, all at a lower cost. The question is will these private companies be able to do the job with dedication, effective and efficient as county Enforcement Officers that are working there now. I say No!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous statement dated Feb. 20, 2012 about "the additional police officers are not costing the port any additional money. They are being paid for by savings from reduced overtime" not true.

First let me state that there are already 30 police officers working at the seaport, eating at the budget of seport enforcement officer for about six million dollars. With the additional 30 they will eat another six million out of the seaport enforcement officers' budget.

Secondly, what you have to look at is why does the seaport need 30 more police officers? It's not like the seaport is a high crime area. If it was I don't think the seaport would be "The Cruise Capital of the World". I guess the mayor and the commissioners have their reasons.

One reason could be that the mayor and the commissioners had allowed the PBA union to have a resolution clause in their contract that there will be zero layoff of county policer officers in it. So, they had to put the policer officers who they were going to layoff someplace where it wouldn't cost the tax payers any money, at the expense of seaport enforcement officers' jobs.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if there was an RFP put out to the public but the seaport dept. already has five private security companies line up to take over security at the port.
I think this was fast tract through the Mayor and Commissioners with the Port Director's help, shame on them.

Anonymous said...

REMEMBER HER NAME; KARMA

Samuel said...

Substituing the reliable security from Seaport Security Specialists commited to public service in Miami-Dade Cpunty with cheap private security companies is something the general public, the tourists and anyone using the sea port should know.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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