Commissioners Vote “No” To Health Insurance Hike For Police

MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade County Commissioners voted not to raise the cost of health insurance for police, but the mayor says that decision could cost hundreds of officers their jobs.

Earlier in the day Miami-Dade police officers and county employees filed into commission chambers to voice their concerns about contributing an additional 5-percent of their pay toward healthcare coverage, which would double the tab to 10-percent for thousands of county employees.

“We’re optimistic that the county commission will understand that enough is enough and that this extra five percent the mayor is trying to impose on us will not pass,” said Miami-Dade Police Sgt. Robert Borgmann.

Late Thursday, the commission decided not to force various county labor unions, including the Dade Police Benevolent Association and the Government Supervisors Association of Florida OPEIU Local 100, to pay an additional 5-percent of their salary to their health insurance after the unions have already made major concessions. Commissioners agreed it wasn’t an easy decision.

“This is a non-win situation not for us not for anybody,” said District 12 Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz.

“While the alternative, if they do not, then we have to be looking at reducing our cost in whatever way possible. It could mean layoffs, it probably does mean layoffs,” said Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

PBA President John Rivera said the police union plans to fight to find other ways of saving money.

“We’re sick and tired of the mayor playing that layoff game. If he needs to lay off, then lay off. Layoff at a time when crime is on the rise, layoff when this community needs more police officers than ever, do it! We’re sick and tired of your threats,” said Rivera

But the Mayor passed the blame onto commissioners who decided not to raise the health care costs.

“It could reduce public safety in this county and that’s squarely on the shoulders the Miami-Dade County Commission and the commissioners who voted to reduce the taxes and then decided not to do the right thing,” said Gimenez, adding pink slips could go out in a matter of weeks.   The county estimated about 154 police officers, 145 corrections officers, and 100 government supervisors could lose their jobs.

Hundreds of officers are packed into commission chambers wearing shirts that read, “Enough is Enough” including the former partner of fallen officer Amanda Haworth who is now caring for her two teenage sons.

“We live pay check to pay check just like every other county employee here,” said Sgt. Jeri Mitchell.

County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez said he won’t decide how he’ll vote until he hears the concerns of county workers.

“While I’m not against the cuts that have to be imposed on everybody, I am against the way the mayor is putting it right now. The 5-percent, I truly believe it is illegal,” said Martinez.

If police employees are hit with the added health-care contribution, the union plans to challenge the legality of the move.

“If they rule in an adverse condition toward us, it won’t be the end for us,” said Rivera. “We’ll take it to the courts. We think there’s some legal problems with that they’re trying to do.”

The county had planned on balancing the budget by obtaining $239 million in labor concessions but those savings won’t be reached due to delays in reaching those cost-saving labor contracts.

An additional 5-percent contribution from both the PBA and the GSAF would yield $35 million in annual savings to the county.

For all county employee groups, the extra 5 percent health-care contribution would save some $87.6 million a year.

All county employee groups, except for the firefighters who have a separate health-insurance plan through the International Association of Firefighters Local 1403, have been pressed to accept the additional 5-percent contribution to health care.

Three other unions that have reached tentative contracts also are at impasse on the contentious health-care contribution. If employees ratify those agreements in coming days, the commission will again have to decide whether to impose the extra health-care contribution on those groups.

Solid waste employees — represented by the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 3292 — are slated to vote Friday on a tentative agreement. Water and sewer workers, who belong to AFSCME Local 121, are set to vote Monday and general county employees, represented by AFSCME Local 199, will weigh in on their tentative agreement on Jan. 20.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. ConcernedCitizen says:

    Lay them off and send them packing. I’ll just buy a gun and defend my self and property. They don’t obey the laws they are sworn to uphold anyway. Speeding down highways, weaving in and out of traffic all because they wear a badge. They are a disgrace, lay them off, cut the budget.

    1. BOO HOO says:

      Send them packing back to the denny’s where they hang out most of the time. Nobody has respect for these incompetent wastes, they are so worthless that you can see them hanging out at the la carreta securing the donuts and cuban cafe.

  2. KEN KARGER says:

    THE MAYORS TOP PEOPLE DON’T NEED TO BE MAKING 200K PLUS,WHEN THE COUNTY HAS A 239M DEFICIT.

    KEN KARGER
    MIAMI, FLORIDA

    1. rube says:

      Please who do you think you are fooling. Police supervisors are earning that and more. give us a break

  3. Odalys Ramos says:

    The mayor doubled the deficit and expected to balance the budget off the backs of approximately 29,000 county employees. That was grossly irresponsible of Giminez! Yet, he hires his high salaried cronies and is a complete hypocrite. Furthermore, his wish to continue imposing health care contributions is illegal and would have been challenged. It is also very sad that the public is not informed and aware of all the money saving proposals that all the labor unions offered but were ignored. This county is not interested in saving money, just in wasteful spending. A perfect and very expensive example is the ridiculuos Procurement process and the non stop contracts shelled out to consultants. Wake up people you are being misled and snowed!!!

  4. hialeahtom says:

    I am curious how much the mayor and his staff contributes into their health care costs. Well, Cops and firefighters, it’s just a job and you pay for your benefits one way or another, just like the rest of us.

  5. CAM says:

    REALLY??? I HEAR THESE OFFICERS TELL US HOW THEY PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE EVERY DAY, THIS IS TRUE, AND THANK THEM FOR THAT. HOWEVER THEY CHOSE THIS PROFESSION SO IT IS BY CHOICE THAT THEY ARE OUT THERE. NOW THESE SAME OFFICES WON’T PAY 5% OF THEIR SALERY TO HELP OFFSET THE COST OF THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE??? THEY ARE OK WITH THE LAY-OFFS OF THEIR FELLOW OFFICERS AND STAFF? NICE!!! THIS IS WHERE UNIONS NEED TO JUST GO AWAY. I PAY FOR MY HEALTH INSURANCE AND SO DO MOST EVERYONE IN THE PRIVET SECTOR, AND I REALLY AM OK WITH IT, TRY NOT HAVING INSURANCE AT ALL. ALL IT MEANS IS THAT THE UNIONS WILL GET LESS MONEY FROM ALL OF THE OFFICES PAY CHECKS AND BELEIVE ME THAT IS WHAT REALLY MATTERS IN ALL OF THIS…LOOK TO THE ONES THAT GET PAID!!! AND REALLY I COULD CARE LESS IF THERE ARE LESS OFFICERS IN MIAMI OR RIGHT IN MY TOWN OF FORT LAUDERDALE THEY ARE ALL OVER STAFFED.

  6. Know the Game well says:

    Commissioners wouldn’t dare go against John Rivera. Who else would organize their campaign rallies and order the troops to fight nail and tooth to get them re-elected? Like all politicians, commissioners care only about themselves and their survival in power, not about the stupid citizens that pay their salaries and perks.

  7. UckTheFunions says:

    I say lay them off!! These people think that money grows on trees. They are just tax sucking jobs that are dependent on taxes, I’d rather lay them off than raise my taxes.

  8. BOO HOO says:

    They are a bunch of incompetent wastes. All these so-called cops do is speed, molest people, break the law and are bullies with a badge. AHH..BOOO HOOO to the stupid cops that are getting layed off, I don’t feel sorry for you because are worthless and don’t even do what your getting paid to except break the law and hang out at the denny’s on kendall drive. Don’t even bother asking for assiatance with traffic enforcement or any other police assistance because they will make every excuse not to come out and do work.

  9. KremeCrispy says:

    Yeah, the cops are always speeding with no consequences. There must be a lot of false alarms at Krispy Kreme doughnuts on US1

  10. Government worker says:

    You people have no clue. The County workers already gave 5 percent for their insurance plus another 5 percent for their pension plus lost 8-11 paid days. How much more do they have to give? Many of the employees ASKED not to have INSURANCE coverage to save County money and keep the 5 percent and they were told they HAD TO HAVE IT and give the 5 percent even though they have other coverage. But GIMENEZ doesn’t pay for HIS INSURANCE plus he gets a LARGE COUNTY PENSION and A COUNTY SALARY. Plus has several extra HIGH PRICED un-needed employees who were his friends which would add millions to the County Budget Come on Now. Plus other costs saving initiatives were suggested and Gimenez didn’t want to hear them. Because the extra money the employees give in THEIR HEALTH COVERAGE pays for HIS AND HIS CRONNIES. OH and you bash the cops but remember when you need your trashed picked up or water to drink and flush your toilets, parks for your kids, schools for your kids, go to court for child support, save your house from foreclosure court, complain when your neighbor has trash in their yard bringing rats into yours, or an illegal marijuana grow house stealing your electricity don’t call a County Employee because they won’t be there. OH and Finally PRAY WE DONT HAVE A HURRICANE FOR THE NEXT THREE YEARS BECAUSE THE NEW BUDGET CUTS ARE FOR 3 YEARS not for a simple one time 5 percent you are seeing in the news. AND NO ONE WILL BE THERE TO SAVE YOUR HIDES OR FIX OUR INFRASTRUCTURE. Don’t bash the LOYAL AMERICANS that are also military veterans, volunteered to help in HAITI, 9/11 and other disasters and dealt with ungrateful citizens. They have given up a lot already. It has to stop. Tell GIMENEZ to listen to his workers and hear the other cost saving initiative proposed then retaliating by threatening LAY OFFS if the employees don’t give him what he wants. Intimidation and threats are ILLEGAL and an arrestable offense.

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