Friday, July 17, 2009

Fat salaries in Miami city government: there is something wrong with this picture ... by gimleteye

The numbers speak volumes. When the average family in Miami is making less than $30,000 it is no wonder that government, geared to these salaries, is immoveable. Credit to Biscayne Times for breaking the story. The top graph is 2009 data. The bottom graph, from the Times story, is based on 2008 data.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

These salaries are obscene.

Anonymous said...

This may not include benefits or pensions. Public employee pensions are guaranteed by taxpayers. About 93% of private sector pension are not guaranteed whatsoever. The public employee pensions are underfunded by about 30-40 percent, in general. The reason we don't know this is that they play with the imputed return ("we'll get 12% from our investments this year") to play accounting magic to forestall the inevitable. I do not understand on a moral basis why public employees should have to bear less risk than the rest of us in a society that is collapsing in slow motion. These salaries are another reason.

Anonymous said...

This is GREAT! It's time people start to learn more about the craziness that goes on at the City. We have been following this for months now, let's get more people the truth!

miamiforchange.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

The reasons for Pensions to begin with was to compensate LOWER waged individuals who went into government service. In other words, you would work for less but make it up in your retirement. The Government wages were never mean to be higher than those of the private sector. Either the salaries should be lower or the pensions eliminated. Who in Miami makes $200,000 and $300,000 without a college degree except government employees! And eliminate over-time.

Anonymous said...

As I think about this, the salaries point to one of the great stories of the last decade that has not been told by the mainstream media: the failure of government to admit to real inflation that has wreaked havoc on the American middle class. We continue to get pure nonsense about how we are living in "low inflation" times. What these salaries show is that government takes care of its own. (Like members of Congress getting gold-plated health insurance.) These salaries of Miami City employees are not necessarily irrefutable examples of greed-- at least the way Wall Street's are-- but they are an implicit expression by the top echelon in government, that the only way to keep up with the cost of inflation is to grab as much as you can. The tide is rising and lots of people are stranded.

Anonymous said...

These charts show the naked greed of the Firemens Union and firemen. They are screwing the taxpayers. Firemen work three day weeks. There are very few fires in South Florida. Do they need to take $300 per hour from the taxpayers? Is it true some firemen make $1,000 per week in overtime? Then they get to retire after 20 years with 100% pensions?

The charts also show the stupidity of Manny Diaz and his staff to allow this theft of taxpayer money to occur.

Anonymous said...

Almost all City of Miami employees are vastly overpaid. They should all get 30% reductions. Let us see if the Commissioners have the courage to act professional.

Mensa said...

My father was a federal Dept head. He would only accept $1.00 per year. I also spent some time as a public servant. I also worked for the public at the minimum allowable. All of those so called public servant should be cut at least in half. The only people I feel who should get a decent salary are the police and firemen who put their lives at risk.

Anonymous said...

Every city should declare bankruptcy and renegotiate all contracts, especially police, fire and pensions.

Miami should look hard at all the salaries over $100K and cut them by a significant amount not just 5%.

I find it difficult to believe that Commissioners and Mayors receive a lifetime pension and health insurance after serving only 8 years.

I suspect that any retired commissioners getting elected to be Mayor will be double dipping with his pension and health package. This too should be eliminated.

Anonymous said...

Double-dipping? You mean they get pensions separately for being city commissioner, then, mayor?

Does anyone know how much money we are paying PAST elected officials via their pensions?

I hope the Obama people are reading this blog...

Sick and Tired said...

I should've skipped college and tried out for Miami Fire Dept. Hell even a desk jockey position in da city with the benefits and pension would work for me.

Anonymous said...

The new stadium is as likely to host public hangings as it is baseball games if these outrages continue.

Anonymous said...

The City of Miami has one of the best, if not the best, pension in the country and the salaries are obscene.

I used to work there and had to spend all day working next to people getting 75k a year to spend the ENTIRE day talking to friends, family, taking smoke breaks, anything but actually working.

Add to this the bloated operating budgets for travel, magazines, consultants, etc. Obscene.

It is way worse than the county. Miami offers starting salaries of 45k for the exact same position that would start at 28k at Miami-Dade County. Then add in GUARANTEED pay increases every year.... And these are the nonunion jobs.

Anonymous said...

Locked in pensions will average millions more in retirement. Average about 5 million per high paid employee. Don't forget these are low civil servant jobs. City should declare bankruptcy fire them all cancel all contracts and rehire them for pennies.

Anonymous said...

Good idea! Manny, where are you on this?

Anonymous said...

Mayor Regalado will fix all of this. He already has been endorsed by all 4 city unions even though he promised to cut their pay by 25%.

Geniusofdespair said...

I was checking files one afternoon at elections dept.: County. There were two women in the room with me. One worked the whole time. The other one talked on the phone THE WHOLE TIME I was there. One was milking the system, one was not.

miaexile said...

We all know "shame" left the building ( Miami ) a long, long time ago..so what's it going to take to get this fixed? Miami, the city that fluctuates between # 1 and # 3 poorest city in America and city jobs pay this much??

The rumor is flying around AM radio that county Mayor Alvarez has 15 assistants - can anyone verify that?

Dave said...

I would expect you would find the same ratio of overpaid employees for the County being in the Fire and Police Depts but it brings up the question of why those were the only two departments spared layoffs by Alvarez? And Fire and Police are the only ones publically fighting pay cuts as well. Cutting unnecessary Police and Fire overtime pay would save a ton of jobs.

Anonymous said...

Geniusofdespair said...

I was checking files one afternoon at elections dept.: County. There were two women in the room with me. One worked the whole time. The other one talked on the phone THE WHOLE TIME I was there. One was milking the system, one was not.

Hmm... so a fifty percent cut of employees would have no effect on services. Worth considering.

Anonymous said...

These salary's bring a whole new meaning to me of the term "shovel ready". These are beyond obnoxious.

Anonymous said...

I'll bite and play devil's advocate - not to justify out of whack pay, but to follow up on some questions that arise from this list and the disclaimers at the bottom.
Of the employees listed, how many retired? For those folks any accrued sick time and/or vacation time they were owed would boost their income dramatically. That one-time lump sum payment for leave accrued over many years would inflate the income for that person in the year of his retirement.
There is a reference too to settlements at the bottom of the list. Was there a lawsuit settlement such as for a promotional examination that would have boosted income in 2008? A grievance arbitration? Retroactive contract pay? I don't know if any of these apply, but again, these are things that boost income without necessarily reflecting an employee's base wage rate.
One can complain about overtime, but that is not a black and white issue. Overtime goes up dramatically when you have understaffing. It can jump when you have poor management decisions regarding staffing. That an employee earns a tremendous amount of overtime does not necessarily mean that there is an abuse going on.
I'll wrap up with two other points. One - why should Wal-Mart be the baseline for judging what employees are worth? I would rather have reasonable working conditions, a living wage, and benefits like health insurance be the norm. Attacking public employees for having better benefits than the private sector is at best a "glass half empty" argument - why not pounce on private sector employers and demand that they provide better benefits and wages? Two - many of the complaints levied above are not about wages in and of themselves, but about pathetic management. I don't care if you earn $10 or $100 an hour - if you are not doing your job, you are not doing your job, and that's a poor reflection on you and on your supervisor. I'll grant you that management in our local governments is on the whole pretty poor - then again, Enron wasn't a government entity , so perhaps the problem is management period, whether public or private ...

Anonymous said...

What?? Nearly HALF of the city employees make over 100K. The ones that don't have a $75K salary on average.

It's TAXPAYER money.

The best thing? For all the blog bitching, no one at City Hall is sweating this, they all know their salaries and pensions are safe.

Go to miamiforchange.blogspot.com for more...

Cato said...

Anon
Walmart pays what the market will bare, Enron, and all the bank failures shouldn't have cost tax payers a dime, the again W, Obama and Jebby made sure we got stuck with the bill.
Locally we are being fleeced by our so called governments there is no ifs, ands or buts about that.
We as a nation have lost our way everybody is out for the quick and easy buck and in reality there is no such thing, sooner or later (REAL SOON ACTUALLY) we will have to pay the piper and "it ain't gonna be perty".

Deep Trout said...

Some clarification here...
The Biscayne Times article used 2008 data and was a perfectly fine and useful expose for getting the story going. Kudos to BT.
The chart on top was based on recently divulged 2009 data which is even more egregious, i.e., more at the top end. The data used in the chart specifically excluded overtime, deferred payments and the like. I know this because I'm the guy who produced the chart.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I guess when the NY Times picks up the story, Manny is going to have to come out from hiding.

Anonymous said...

Shirley Richardson, fired from the CIP, rehired by Pete Hernandez, assistant to an assistant, $175,000

South Florida Lawyers said...

It's not just Miami -- the smaller towns and villages around Miami are even worse, with entrenched bureaucracies and rising benefits and retirement packages.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

It is no secret that there are lots of overpaid City of Miami employees.

The question is why so many and why has Manny Diaz in the past 8 years of his administration not cut their huge salaries by 25-50% before now.

Many would like to know if Manny was ever endorsed by the Police and or Fireman’s union when he was running for Mayor.

We also wish to know why our city has agreed to place our future so much in debt as a result of unfavorable agreements with the police and fireman’s union and these out of line pensions.

You would also think that the city would show some leadership by reducing all of their salaries by a considerable amount and eliminated the pensions for commissioners and the mayor since those jobs are not supposed to be a stepping stone to retirement.

Harry Emilio Gottlieb

Geniusofdespair said...

Please don't use names of individuals who you think are overpaid.

Anonymous said...

There is a woman at the City of Miami named ------. Her department was defunded three years ago. Her department was accused of doing nothing then. She still gets paid every two weeks. She is taking $180,000+ per year with health insurance and pension contributions. She is not in a union. Where is Manny?

Anonymous said...

What is shameful is how many firemen make over $275,000 per year. These are mostly pencil pushers too. Then after 20 years they get 100% pensions.

The union has too much influence.

Anonymous said...

You really think the unions have too much influence? Don't worry, when Mayor Regalado comes into office, he'll do what Manny couldn't or wouldn't do.

Anonymous said...

I do find it sort of strange that the Unions have backed Regalado for mayor. I dont think he has been a big supporter of the unions throughout his time at city hall. On the other hand Sanchez has always given in to the unions. My nephew is a police officer for Miami and had been hoping his union would support sanchez because it was well known that sanchez has never voted against the unions. I dont think Tomas has that same record. I believe the unions only went with regalado because they are worried of him winning without their support. "IF YOU CANT BEAT THEM, JOIN EM!! I think Regalado will whip these unions into shape, unlike joe or manny.

Anonymous said...

I have little interest in engaging in this discussion other than to clear up some misconceptions by other posters.
First, no firefighter , either City or County , retires with a 100% pension at 20 years.
Further, City Firefighters contribute to their pensions currently at a rate of 8% soon to return to a 10% contribution.
County firefighters do not contribute to their pension.
They do however, qualify for social security benefits as well, something that City FF's do not.
Those City FFs that have accrued 40 quarters in SocSec from an earlier carrer are further penalized by a huge reduction in socsec payments because of the Defined benefit pension.
Some FFs are not even eligible for Medicare.
I will not disagree that the BT article showed people making large amounts of money that even to me seem obscene, but they did not clearly state that significant sums were for Overtime and retro payments due from working years without a contract and many more years prior with out even a cost of living adjustments.
What is of interest to me is that the salaries of General Employees has gone without comment.There are many Civil servants that I know of that do make obscene amounts of money for little work and retire at 50 with high wages. Why is no one looking at them?

ChildAdvocate said...

Well, people take a gander at the Children's Trust. They retire with a State Pension and can go into the DROP program. Not a bad deal for a social service agency employee is it? That is tax dollars too. I find it offensive that they have a similar retirement to police and school teachers. They are paper managers pushing papers and not exactly on the front lines.

It is one thing for state employees to get retirement. Heck some of them should be on food stamps as the starting salary for an executive secretary is about 18k. Imagine raising your family on that. So they need to be rewarded at some point.

Anonymous said...

Firemen have a contract that forces the taxpayers to contribute $30,000 to $50,000 per year to each fireman. In addition, firemen contribute 8%, as well they should to get a "defined benefit" when they retire. Firemen have no investment risk like normal people. Firemen have told me they can get a pension of 103% after 20 years. Then they can retire and go back to work in another capacity making $275,000 per year and contributing to another defined benefit pension.

The 100's of firemen making $150,000 and above never go into burning buildings. They spend most of their days trying to keep the taxpayer cash flowing freely.

Any of you in the private sector expecting a $200,000 per year pension? Any of you expecting $24,000?

Anonymous said...

"Firemen have told me they can get a pension of 103% after 20 years. Then they can retire and go back to work in another capacity making $275,000 per year and contributing to another defined benefit pension. "
The above remarks are untrue for Both City and County Firefighters.
Please anon, tell us which municipality you are referring to?
As far as retiring and going back to work for another 275K AND another pension, you seem to have confused info about the DROP plan which does not allow you access to another pension.{For the record, I am not a fan of the DROP for anyone, anywhere.}

Anonymous said...

Firefighters and other government workers can "retire" and start collecting their pensions. They can almost immediately get a new high paying job. Then they can start working on new pensions.

How many people in the private sector have no pensions? How many have no health insurance? 50 mil?

Anonymous said...

It is well known among professionals that defined benefit pensions will cause companies and governments to go bankrupt. Unions that have them love them until like GM they go out of business.

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about fiscal responsibility! Regalado's Commission Office (District 4 Office) & Angel Gonzalez's office (District 1 Office)made the list! It's right there, black & white, on paper!
Yet, Sanchez (District 3) does not have a single employee making anything even remotely close to $100,000! How can Regalado talk about fiscal responsibility and have a staffer make that much money?!
Smells fishy!!!!!