MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – The rank and file of Miami-Dade’s police union approved a county cost cutting deal which would slash their overtime and incentive pay.
CBS4’s Maggie Newland reports that more than 90 percent voted in favor of the deal. If they had voted against it, hundreds of officers could have been laid off.
The county is trying to fill a budget hole $200 million in labor concessions. Under terms of the deal, officers with take home cars would have to pay $50 every two weeks, incentive pay and overtime for court appearances and ten holidays would be slashed and officers would receive paid days off for three other holidays
“Our community is a team we are part of that team and today we took one for the team,” said John Rivera, Police Benevolent Association President.
Miami Dade Police Department Director James Loftus said, “You have a lot of senior people who are willing to put their own personal needs aside people with families in college kids in college who are willing to say ‘I support this organization and the junior people who work here’ because we’re all the same.”
The county is also seeking $18 million in cuts by having police employees pay more for their health insurance. Currently, police pay five percent of their salary to their health insurance. Mayor Carlos Gimenez wants them to pay 10 percent.
“We our lives every day and I don’t know if my life is worth $60,000.00 or whatever,” said officer Raymond Gomez, “but it’s good for my family and I try my best.”
The deal, which covers police, corrections and animal services, will save the county approximately $56 million.
“In my opinion I don’t think it’s going to go that far. I think that was just a strong bluff,” said Officer Rhonda McCoy.
If it’s a bluff, Cowart doesn’t want to call it. A family man with just six months on the job.
“It’s a big pill to bite, no matter which was you look at it. Whether it’s the financial part of a yes vote or the no vote ultimately not having a job,” said Cowart.
The deal could be ratified by the county commission as early as Tuesday’s meeting.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez released this statement after the vote:
“I’m glad that the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) membership voted to approve this contract. These are challenging economic times for our employees and for our residents as well. I’m grateful that members have chosen to make a shared sacrifice for the greater good of this organization and the people we serve.”