MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County Commissioners are scheduled to meet Tuesday to finally solve a political showdown between Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the Commission over controversial healthcare concessions on county unions including the police union.
Tuesday morning, the Commission will reconsider its decision to refuse requiring law-enforcement officers and other employees to contribute an additional 5-percent of their pay toward health care, bringing the total to 10-percent.
On January 5th, the Commission voted against the additional 5-percent pay contribution. However, Mayor Gimenez swiftly followed through on his promise to veto the Commission decision and proceeded to send out pink slips to nearly 300 police and corrections officers and about 250 professional and supervisory employees throughout every county department.
In his veto messages, Gimenez reminded commissioners that they lowered the property-tax rate last year knowing the 2011-12 county budget would then depend on steep union concessions.
At Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners will need a two-thirds majority in order to override the mayor’s vetoes which would also finalize the layoffs. Nine of 13 commissioners would have to vote to override.
If Gimenez’s vetoes are upheld, layoffs will be canceled, but commissioners will have to come up with a way to resolve the impasse with the unions , either by accepting the mayor’s 5-percent recommendation or coming up with a different plan.
One of those alternative plans could be imposing an additional healthcare contribution of less than 5-percent.
Gimenez recommended the extra 5-percent contribution after contract negotiations hit an impasse with two employee unions, the Dade Police Benevolent Association and the Government Supervisors Association of Florida OPEIU Local 100. The unions have already agreed to substantial cuts in pay including giving up holiday pay and uniform allowances.
When the commissioners voted against the additional contribution, the move left the county in a scramble to close a $35 million budget gap created by the PBA and GSAF unions alone.
Gimenez warned the budget hole would balloon to $65 million if the commission also rejects the extra 5-percent contribution for county unions whose contracts have not yet been ratified.
Still on the horizon: Contract negotiations and impasse resolutions with four other unions fighting Gimenez’s 5-percent giveback plan.
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