Friday, December 13, 2013

Will We Get a Veto from Gimenez on the County Commission Vote on the Union 5%? Guest Blog by Norma Rae

Everybody is waiting for Mayor Gimenez to publish his veto message. We know it is coming. The only question is how dark and dreary the message will be. For some reason, if the county allows employees to actually deposit their entire check, money that they earned, the entire County budget will supposedly collapse. Gimenez would like everyone to believe that paying people their full wages is the first sign of the end times.

Compare that to the situation at Jackson. The Jackson CEO did not ask Gimenez to veto the 5% decision. He issued a simple statement explaining that the decision by the Commission does create a financial challenge. But there is no suggestion there will be a financial meltdown at Jackson. Why? The hospital administration and the unions at Jackson have gotten pretty good at meeting financial challenges. CEO Migoya knows that his team will be able to make adjustments, because he has been working with the unions, not against them.

Gimenez would not have a crisis either, if he would only work with the employees. During the hearing last week, the workers from Water and Sewer and the Transit Agency said they knew how to save plenty of money. They see the money being wasted on consultants and contractors first-hand. If the Strong Mayor would order his executive team to do a better job of managing those contractors, Gimenez could save millions of dollars, and he could maintain a balanced budget – without blaming everything on the workers.

The word on the street is that the wife of one of the police officers shot this week told the Mayor – in front of several witnesses - that she did not want him to visit his bedside. She said if Gimenez really respected the work and sacrifice the officers make every day protecting this community, he would quit deducting money from their paychecks. And she sent him away.

We should all take note of this woman’s courageous words and actions. If the Commission does not override Gimenez’s veto on Tuesday, December 17th, we should send them all away. Every politician responsible for garnishing our wages should be defeated at their next election and sent home. Enough is enough.



Anonymous said...

Today Sally Heyman has a letter in the Herald suggesting the economy is still sick. She must suffer from the same dark thoughts that haunt Gimenez. Ask any economist: the recession ended in 2009. She ought to quit drinking that tea party brew that has twisted the mind of the Mayor. Change your meds, Sally.

Ciera said...

So Miami-Dade Transit employees have cost saving suggestions?

I hope one of them is to end the wasteful practice of giving them free transit rides. It is absurd that I must pay $112.50 every month to ride the Metrorail, while lazy overpaid transit employees with lush benefits ride at no cost.

As long as Transit employees are not paying their fair share to ride the Metrorail. I know the county government has too much of my money.

Anonymous said...

The economy is not better. I have no idea what some of you are on. In the private sector, wages have not gone up one cent since 2008. We do not have 80% pensions waiting for us when we retire. We all contribute to our health care, or pay for it 100%.

Government employees get it all.. Wages are equal or better than the private sector, and you all get unsustainable benefits that we the tax payer have to foot.

And don't give me this bs, oh, it was only temporary. It had a reopener because no one knew, or still knows, now the Affordable Care Act is going to impact health care.

And by the way, the only reason this was set up as a percentage contribution to health care is so that GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES CAN STILL RETIRE WITH THEIR FULL PENSION, without the 5% reduction.

The 5% reduction came a year after many bargaining units received double digit salary increases, NAMELY POLICE, at 13%. So it was no real reduction of actual salaries, it was a reduction in the % increase in government salaries.

If I were a government employee, I wouldn't push the issue, because if you do, the taxpayer will have the final say, and things will be much worse for you!

I think we may hear about a charter provision that would require all County employees to be removed from the State pension system, and take a 401K like the rest of us, if you keep pushing this BS issue.

Anonymous said...

The county (taxpayers) pays around 8 MILLION DOLLARS a year to the more than 40 county employees that don't show up for work at all. They work for the unions. We are are subsidizing union budgets with taxpayer dollars. Why not end that practice and give that money to the employees towards the 5% and let the unions cover there own expenses with the dues that also come out of county employees pay checks.

Anonymous said...

Gimenez had no problem giving Juan Kuryla a massive $300,000County Director's salary, a 70% increase while the current Port Director remains in his job and while all other employees get cuts. Kuryla's background includes reassignment from his Public Works post to a remote field location because of improprieties, personal bankruptcy, coworker love affair leading to divorce, shady dealings with potential port vendors and clients resulting in Inspector General investigation, scheming to get PBSJ a port contract at the same time PB was being indicted for fraud, a fraudulent scheme with convict Hardemon for material hauling from the Port, wining and dining family and friends on the county credit card on foreign junkets, an embarrassing episode in Dubai on County business, inability to show up for work before 10am, aggressive behavior toward law enforcement at traffic stops and other unstable episodes. He is favored by this administration and commission because of his ability to cater to their needs, including numerous junkets to foreign locations using a $500,000port budget item. The 2014 Port budget also includes a $5 million item for payment in a legal judgment against the County for a judges ruling that the Port of Miami has a way of doling certain business permits illegally protecting incumbents -- ``creating a handful of entrenched privileged companies". The judge said evidence showed other ``established, qualified, competent and trustworthy,'' companies were denied permits even as some incumbents who didn't use their permits received automatic renewals. Kuryla works the backchannels and selection process, where privileged insiders are awarded business while those who are not tied into the system of lobbyists, commissioner aides and certain County staff are denied. Kuryla should be fired, not promoted. Divide his salary among honest employees. Stop the travel junkets for friends and family, save millions.

Yaz said...

Ciera, with the transit employees, it's even worse than you thought. The Miami-Dade bus and rail operators have it written into their contract that THEY AND THEIR SPOUSES GET FREE TRANSIT RIDES FOR LIFE.

Government employees continuing to milk the taxpayers long after they are gone. It is a disgrace. I wish they would cut all of their bloated salaries in half.

Anonymous said...


The spouse has a transit pass only when the employee retires. This is a bogus benefit...anyone in Miami-Dade who is old enough to retire gets a Golden Passport. If you cut everyone's pay in half, who would wake up at 4:00 in the morning to drive those buses all over town? You? In this country, we pay people who are reliable, dependable and willing to work odd hours.

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous above, no county employee gets 80% of their salary as pension. You must be confused with the City of Miami. County employees, if they stay in the system all their life, do have the possibility of earning a 48% pension of their base pay (30 years X 1.6%). And, they do contribute to their healthcare cost at a rate of 39% for family coverage.

If you want to hate people for fixing your roads, pumping your sewage, driving your buses, and working 24-hours a day to save your life if necessary, that's up to you. But don't be spewing bullshit that is not even close to factual. Many of the county employees you hate probably are your neighbors or belong to your church. Get over it. Peace.

FR said...

The anon so-called expert above, you apparently are not aware that there are several classes of FRS pension plans. For special risk class (police, fire, medical examiner, and corrections employees) and Senior Management class (Directors, Deputy Mayors, County Attorney, Deputy County Atty, etc.) the pay out at 30 years is 90% (30 years x 3%). Also, the longer you stay, the higher your percentage.

I remember when Bobby Parker retired as MDPD director. He was earning over $200k annually and he retired with a 100% pension. That's an annual pension of over $200k with regular cost of living adjustments. County retirees such as Barbara Jordan and Carlos Alvarez became multimillionaires in retirement. And county taxpayers paid every last penny into their pension plans. Those losers contributed zero.

P.S. Every County employee gets FREE Avmed High Option individual health insurance.

Anonymous said...

What county employees works 24 hours a day? I hope the anon above was not referring to the greedy fire fighters who work 2 days a week and get paid to eat, sleep, exercise, and shop for groceries while on the clock.

It's time fire fighters worked 8-hour shifts with no sleeping just like other public safety employees. NO MORE PAY FOR SLEEPING ON THE JOB!

Anonymous said...

See your girlfriends committee meeting on the Port property about to be commercialized - all are eager to move ahead.

Anonymous said...

above comment: at the end Comm Souto blew the cover on the huge travel junket to occur to Spain and France in June-in commemoration of the Normandy invasion. Normally it would be Diaz arranging this, he was ill. It is notable that former Comm Sejas was in the audience. She took over the county funded Jay Molina trade assoc. (read: taxpayer funded junket machine)after Diaz got caught fraudulently reporting same. Notice Dir. Johnson directing further discussion to be "offline" and corrupt co-director Juan Kuryla in charge of putting it all together. This would normally all occur out of sight.

Anonymous said...

who knew there were so many Cubans involved in the Normandy invation? good thing taxpayers will be sending so many over there for the ceremonies

Anonymous said...

The vast majority of Miami-Dade County full-time employees are vastly overpaid. A vast majority make far more as County employees than they could ever make in the private sector.

Anonymous said...

before reading these comments, I did not know: 1) that transit employees get free rides and some get free rides for life (and their spouses, too); 2) that some county employees like the police director get a 100% pension; and 3) how much corruption there is at the seaport with some sleazeball named kuryla as the kingpin. what a great blog!

Anonymous said...

Here’s why this ‘problem’ exists:

We tend to “overpay” for things like janitorial, semi-skilled work and clerical work.

We also overpay for high level employees.

Our high level county administrators simply do not have to be as accountable as their private sector counterparts and so they should actually be paid less, most less than 100k.

The problem with cutting county wages: Everyone loses including private sector workers.

Cutting county wages will cause downward pressure on private sector wages since people will no longer have the option run to the public sector to get a better deal.

When workers in one place get a raw deal everyone ends up suffering.

It’s just like how allowing China to sell products in the U.S. starting in the 1970’s even though they paid slave wages and even early on used convict labor was unfair because it forced American workers to accept lower wages or watch their company go offshore ( and sometimes they’d get outsourced anyway).

This is a two way street.

We still benefit from the fact that most of Europe offers better wages and benefits to all of its workers (with the exception of corporate executives) because if the cost of labor ever dropped there then American worker’s financial situation would deteriorate still further.

Many Americans look with envy at Europe’s enviable social welfare programs and month long vacations each year but seeing their crisis drag them down and force them to keep continuing austerity will ultimately make our lives even worse because companies that previously found it cheap to build their products here will once again find Europe more attractive.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor and his allies are (unwittingly or otherwise) following Machiavelli’s advice as outlined in The Prince:

A politician “cannot observe faith [keep his word], nor should he when such observance turns against him, and the causes that made him promise have been eliminated…Nor does a prince [or politician] ever lack legitimate causes to color his failure to observe faith [keep his promises]…But it is necessary to know well how to color this nature, and to be a great pretender and dissembler; and men are so simple [naive] and so obedient to present necessities [distracted by actually earning an honest living] that he who deceives will always find someone who will let himself be deceived. - Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince

Let’s compare the advice above to the Mayor’s recent actions:

1. Mayor Gimenez went back on the library millage and flip-flopped within the space of week just this past July. He turned around and characterized breaking his word as being responsive to the will of the people.

2. Just this past week he went back on the 5% insurance contribution by saying his promise was not “ironclad” and that new circumstances made him unable to keep it.

That is his excuse?

If you have to qualify a promise then it is not a promise and never was.

“Let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,” that you may not incur condemnation. James 5:12 .

A promise is so powerful and convincing to people precisely because you are supposed keep your promises even when it becomes difficult to do so.

Promises that are easy to keep, mean very little because they hardly necessary.

Promises only matter when they cover things that are hard to do.

For this reason an insurance company doesn’t have to promise to collect your premiums. You know they will do so because that is easy and pleasant task for them.

But they do have to promise you to pay out if you ever suffer a covered misfortune because making the payout will be a difficult and financially draining burden to them.

Promises are supposed to be so sacred that you are willing to make serious sacrifices to keep them.

And that is the greatest measure of your character, whether or not you will keep your word when everyone and everything keeps tempting you to break it.

Everyone falls short of this high standard no matter how hard they try.

We’re human, after all.

But what you do after you fail to keep your word is also a measure of your character.

You’re supposed to admit your mistake, go to the other person and try your very best to make it right.

You don’t demagogue against them on the radio and threaten working mothers and other vulnerable people like them with layoffs because they asked you to stick to your word.

Instead, you should work with the people you wronged and try to find a way to repair the damage even if you cannot fix it all at once.

The problem is that the more you lie, the harder it is to stop because people are forced to stop forgiving you, to stop trusting you, and even to stop negotiating with you just to protect themselves from further treachery.

They are then forever on their guard against you and that makes reconciliation almost impossible.

I would argue that Mayor Gimenez has reached that point with supporters.

As much as it hurts to be harsh, we cannot trust him again.

Geniusofdespair said...

Anonymous 3 up: Comments are believed at your own peril. Be aware they are anonymous and people can write anything.

Anonymous said...

And big deal that anyone retiring gets free transit. Does anyone actually use it? Doesn't everyone over 65 get free transit?

Anonymous said...

another reason why blogs need to be scrutinized, the Mayor met with 2 out of the 3 police officers, and the only one he did not see was in surgery, but, he did have a very good conversation with his wife and brother, Honduran decent. It was actually a vey pleasant conversation about how the family has always been in law enforcement.

So, Sorry Norma.. I guess there goes your story. I wonder who your "source" was???

Anonymous said...

To the apologist for the Mayor above, how the Mayor hears things and what is said to him are two completely different things. He has absolutely no empathy for people and doesn't give a shit about their problems. He is only interested in getting re-elected by the Braman machine that put him in office: cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes. His simplistic formula is going to be the ruin of the county. The fire district will crumble, and the library district will collapse, and then the rest of the government will eventually cave in. Norman Braman will then have completed his mission on earth - may his greed, and the Mayor's subservience, weigh on them both in eternity.

Anonymous said...

Wow, fly on the wall?

Anonymous said...

Gimenez did Veto the item. Most County employees are vastly overpaid. Defined Benefit Pension Plans? Nobody in the private sector gets that.

Anonymous said...

D It's time to rid ourselves of sally and lynda. Speaking of Lynda what's up with that Cadillac. Word on the street is she got it for free from Sweetwater mayors towing company after it was illegally seized.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how people have time to read this blog and this same people don't have enough time to do research. County employees overpaid compared to private sector employees. Remember when comparing them that not all of them get pay big bucks. Most of the ones that do should be compared to CEOs in reputable company or have been working for 20 plus years. I have been working for the county for 13 years as a professional and make less then 35k. My little sister's best friend is a is an assistant manager at BK and makes 60k+. She has been there 6 years. I need a bachelor and she needs a GED or high school diploma. Overpaid... I want to see facts. Also the county is made up of more departments not just the Police,and Transit.

Mercy 80(

Orlando said...

Last anon, please give us your name so we can verify your salary. Every county employee tries to pass off their take-home salary after deductions as their salary.

EVERY county employee makes more than their private sector counterpart, from mail clerks and secretaries to executives.

Geniusofdespair said...

Last commenter: you are such a putz.

Anonymous said...

Miami-Dade County had ten employees working as "parking lot attendants". Each makes $50,000 per year. The County has 6 "painters" making $70,000 per year. Average income in Miami-Dade County is $29,000 per year AND that average person gets NO health care AND NO pension. Average income of the dozen deputy mayor types? $220,000 per year plus benefits.

Anonymous said...

High salaries,extreme benefits and fat pensions are nothing new to County Hall. I worked in HR and saw a pay equity study that Manager Shiver commissioned comparing like kind responsibilities and similar large scale government agencies. That study showed every manager, director and I believe two assistants deep were some of the highest paid executives in the Country. If not the highest, none were out of the top five. Of course when Manager Shiver didn't want to play by Penelas' rules with a bait and switch on the transit tax and resigned, George burgess and Alina Hudak had that report buried. It never saw the light of day. Do a public records request and see for yourself.

Anonymous said...

The union employees crying poverty are full of crap. Nobody is stopping them from trying to get a "real job" in the private sector.

Geniusofdespair said...

If I hear Private Sector one more time I am going to scream. This is so typical of talking points against unions. You keep your job in the private sector and be happy for yourself. Don't try to second guess and be jealous that someone has a piece of the pie, maybe bigger than your pie, you don't know what is happening to others. What happened to empathy?

Jorge said...

The entry level professional job in the County is called an Administrative Officer 2. The salary starts at $42,790.80 without any additional pay additions typically given for certifications, licenses and shift differential. The AO2 pay at the top of the range (people at the 20-year mark) is $72,185.62 plus pay exceptions.

The pay plan is published on the County website under the HR department. There is no way a professional employee of 13 years is making less than $35k.

P.S. I am a County employee who deals with payroll issues.

A taxpayer said...

Yes, G.O.D., I am jealous that unionized county employees are getting a bigger piece of the pie than me because I am the one paying for the pie. They are greedy and will not stop until we are all bled dry.

I am also jealous because I will never be able to join their ranks and enjoy their riches. The county hiring system is completely corrupt. Everyone knows you need to be part of the "friends and family plan" to get a job there. I have no relatives or cronies in the system so I am just a lowly taxpayer stuck paying the bills.

Geniusofdespair said...

I am not jealous of the rank and file. I also pay their salaries. Good for them for being middle class and having a decent life. I am more concerned with waste, bonds and stupid contracts. That is wasting my tax dollars not giving someone a decent life for working.

Anonymous said...

Homestead is giving bonuses for Christmas.

Geniusofdespair said...

I was a teamster in Puerto Rico I got free dinners at the Hyatt --- goat meat, etc. sounded better than it was.

Anonymous said...

Miami-Dade County employees making $80,000 to $300,000 per year are not middle class. Remember the taxpayers must pay 35% to 45% on top of those wages in benefits. Health care... defined benefit pension...take home vehicles...cell phones... sick pay and unused vacation cash out... Those people are either Upper Middle Class or Rich. Remember the private sector DOES NOT have benefits like those provided to government workers.