MIAMI (CBS4)- Struggling to close a yawning $400 million budget gap for the new budget year that begins Oct. 1, Miami-Dade County is scrapping a 3 percent cost-of-living raise for executives and other non-union employees who are under the mayor’s purview.

Nearly 3,000 county workers will be affected. The county expects to save $7.5 million over the course of a year by withholding the pay increases that were to begin in July. The county executives and exempt employees haven’t gotten merit raises either since 2007, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

But most county employees are still on track for 3-percent pay raises in July, as they enter the third-year of three-year union contracts. However, that could change if the next mayor pushes to open collective bargaining agreements.

Pay increases at County Hall are a hot-button issue that sparked voter outrage, fueling a sense among many that county government is disconnected from a public still grappling with a sluggish economy. That voter backlash contributed to the dramatic ouster of former Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Alvarez.

In the wake of the Alvarez’s recall on March 15, 11 candidates are vying for the mayor’s seat in a special election set for May 24. The frontrunners have all taken fiscally conservative stances, stumping on the need to rein in county spending.

The sour news for county executives and colleagues came in a memo Friday from County Manager Alina Hudak, who said she plans to ask the county commission to amend the county’s pay plan next month to eliminate the cost-of-living increase as one of a host of austerity measures the county is pursuing to make ends meet in tough times.

With property values still declining, Miami-Dade is bracing for about a $250 million budget gap for those areas of government that rely on property taxes. That’s because the cost of providing services is rising and the tax rolls are expected to shrink again after a 13.4 percent decline this year, according to the Herald.

County officials have been estimating the tax roll will drop another 5 percent when the property appraiser, Pedro J. Garcia, issues the preliminary tax roll values June 1. Final numbers come out in July.

In addition to dwindling property-tax revenue, the county expects another $150 million budget gap in those areas of the government that generate their own revenue, such as the water and sewer department, assuming rates and fees are held flat.

Hudak’s request to eliminate cost-of-living raises for executives and exempt employees under the mayor will be presented to the county commission on May 17.

Other areas of the county — including the clerk of courts, the office of the county attorney, the county commission, and the property appraiser — must also eventually come up with savings, although none has yet announced similar whacks to executive and non-union workers’ pay.

Alvarez was forced from office by a stunning 88-12 margin, largely because of his decision to propose a budget last year that raised the property-tax rate while handing raises to most county employees. Under collective bargaining agreements, most employees are set to get 3-percent raises in July. The raises coming in third year of three-year contracts follow union concessions during the first two years.

County executives and non-exempt employees also participated in those concessions, which included pay freezes and agreements to begin contributing 5 percent of pretax income toward their health care costs.

The cost-of-living freezes are just the tip of the iceberg. County officials acknowledge it is hard to imagine how the county will avoid significant layoffs in the coming year.

By trimming spending this year, the county expects to be able to save about $17 million that can be carried over to next year’s budget.

In a memo Friday, Hudak, who became county manager when George Burgess resigned last month, said she had begun meeting with leaders of 10 unions to discuss new contracts.

“They know that compromises on salaries and benefits are the only way we can survive without massive layoffs and cuts to essential public services,’’ Hudak said. “These discussions are still preliminary.’’
(©2011 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 (6)
  1. michael wind says:

    miami-dade has a potential of being the best place to live in the world,but the corruption here is number one in the world,all police and politician and everyone that has a gun and a badge must have regular lie detector tests like the fbi,all lawyers who are the biggest criminals must be examined,it is no big deal to shoot a poor desperate person.let them catch big fish,stop the hate and corruption…….

  2. rausky says:

    Yeah thats real good. Don’t give me my three percent pay increase after Alvarez cut our salaries over five percent last year. Then you want the majority of County employees like me that don’t earn over sixty thousand to over one hundred thousand dollars a year to be happy and produce more with less.

    When the government institutes a policy of STATE SPONSORED TERRORISM,and CLASS WARFARE against the working class,don’t freak out when discontent,and low morale hits your doorstep!!! Personally,I can’t wait to retire from government work,and LEAVE this county that unfortunately has become a CESSPOOL of corruption, back stabbing, racial, economic diviision,hatred,lack of morality, and other social ills that have destroyed many societies from within like ROME!!!!. I’m going to get out before this dump falls like ROME!! When that happens,it will be TOO LATE for anyone!!!

    1. TR says:


      There are thousands of unemployed in Miami that would jump at

      the opportunity to have your job … for LESS MONEY than you are

      crying about !


    2. 1776 says:

      THANK YOU ! Rausky

      You are a true representative of the “excellent” wokers that have been attracted to government employment

      The post that you authored should be required reading for those that think that reducing the budgets of government departments would have adverse effect on services

      When the opposite is may be true. If we support cuts in government spending the administrators that manage such “excellent” workers like you those
      [ occupying space until they get to that State Retirement GOLD ]
      may be able to send you into an early retirement !

      NO that would not happen ! What was I thinking?

      The Union would certainly come to your rescue, as you are exactly the type of employee that they serve best, those “excellent “government workers putting it their time, waiting for that government retirement GOLD

      Thank you for showing us who you really are, no really Thank You !

  3. QI155 says:


    Someone in government has the right idea …

    Why should Government employees continue to have cost of living increases at the TAXPAYERS expense … while most of those same TAXPAYERS ,working for non-union private companies ,have seen a steady reduction in salaries and benefits for years ?

    There is no such thing as a “cost of living increase” in a non-union private company …

    In fact, in this economy the average TAXPAYER that works for a non-union private company iis fortunate to still have their job!

    Government workers should not be immune to the downturn in the economy just because they have Unions that give them ability to threaten and manipulate politicians …

    Threaten Politicains with Union money, campaign workers & votes positioned against them if they do what is right for the City & County … but will work for them if they provide the raises that the Unions demand …

    Fortunately many accross the country have become aware of how government employee UNIONS work to manipulate our elected officials …

    A prime example of the new awareness was the ALVEREZ defeat … He had given the Union the increases tthey demanded in exchange for Union money, campaign workers & votes … RAISING TAXES to payoff the Unions …

    MIAMI finally woke up ! saw the VOTE BUYING DEAL with TAXPAYERS MONEY … and THREW HIM OUT ! VIVA MIAMI !

  4. rausky says:

    I see how ignorant you non-county employees are. First of all,I PAY TAXES like everybosy else does!!Second, I haven’t had a cost of living increase in over three years! You all have seen how the cost of everything has gone up, and not only gas!! I don’t make sixty thousand dollars or more! I’ve been in the same position and classification for the last eighteen years!!
    Last year in my division, we had budget cuts like all others. I no longer have a seretary to answer the phones that constantly ring. I have to answer the phone,while I’m doing intakes, and many times have to stop what I’m doing with a client in my office to attend to clients that come to the window, and if the phone rings,I have to answer it. Then I have to remember what I was doing with the client.
    I’m doing the work of three people. When the supervisor is out I’m in charge of the office, and I don’t complain, because I’m a responsible worker. I have to deal with people that have many problems, and are sometimes at the end of their rope, that many times people take their anger and frustration out on me. I get insulted on a daily basis either by phone or in person!
    I’d like to see some of you people spend a day at my job,and see what I have to deal with on a daily basis! Last year,for your information, an employee in my office retired! Her position hasn’t been filled. I inherited her work, and mine when she left. Before you people open your ignorant mouths, you need to educate yourselves on the functions of many County government divisions, and how the budget cuts have afftected moral, but services all together!
    Yes I agree there are county employees that are lazy, nasty, and arrogant. I thank the Good Lord, I don’t fall into that category, I work hard everyday that I’m on duty. I rarely take time off. In fact the only days I take off are for going to the doctor, when i get sick, and a few days I take off for vacation in July.
    I challenge any of you to place themselves in my shoes. I’m not complaining about my job. I enjoy my job as I like to help those less fortunate than me., but I’m also a human being who like all people; to be respected and treated decently, not only by the public, but also by our elected officials. Like me, there are many dedicated county employees that put in a hard day’s work!!