MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Commissioners have voted 7-6 to propose a new deal with law enforcement that will avoid any layoffs, but still require workers to contribute four percent from their base pay toward health care.

The vote took place just before 5 p.m. Tuesday after the commission earlier declined to vote on a veto override for proposed layoffs by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

Gimenez originally wanted law enforcement officers and other county employees to contribute an additional 5-percent of their base pay toward healthcare, bringing the total contribution 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 118 police officers, 17 corrections employees and, so far, 68 professionals and supervisors. The layoffs would have been effective Feb. 3.

But, by reconsidering their January 5th vote and starting from scratch Tuesday, the commission essentially rendered the mayoral vetoes moot. Roughly 350 people packed the commission chambers Tuesday urging commissioners and the mayor to save their jobs and not cut benefits.

Miami-Dade Police Union officials said after the vote they will speak to attorneys beginning Wednesday and are seeking to take the potential changes to court.

The proposed plan put forth by commissioners Tuesday will expire on September 30, 2012. It will need another vote on the issue then.

Mayor Gimenez did say that the new proposal will allow him to rescind all of the layoff notices.

“Obviously it’s better than the 5-percent which is unreasonable but we still need to go down to zero, said PBA President John Rivera. “We’ve given them so much more than anybody else. We’re set in our ways, ya know we have an American system, we live in America, not in Cuba, we don’t deal with dictators, let the courts deal with it.”

The 2011-12 budget that commissioners approved last year factored in $239 million in union concessions. Most unions accepted a slew of cutbacks but hit an impasse over the 5-percent giveback.

Earlier this month, commissioners rejected the giveback for the Police Benevolent Association and the Government Supervisors Association of Florida OPEIU Local 100. Were they to do the same for the remaining four unions at impasse, the county would face a $65 million budget hole.

Four other unions have also hit an impasse on the extra 5-percent contribution. Those impasses will also come before the commission Tuesday.

Two of the unions, the AFSCME Local 199 representing general county employees, and the Transport Workers Union Local 291, ratified their contracts last week, in time to bring the impasses before the commission Tuesday along with solid waste and water and sewer workers.

(©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 (7)
  1. ys says:

    Here’s an interesting observation which not all of the Miami-Dade County public is not aware of…..Mayor Gimenez just hired 5-6 vice mayors or so called assistants making six digit figure salaries, in addition to car allowances. While in the meantime he is cutting back from workers pay since last year when he filled Carlos Alvarez’ position. How much more is he planning to take from workers? He should probably concentrate on his own department’s salaries….which are quite questionable.

    1. lmmd says:

      oh we’re aware trust me…….and you have no clue how many times I’ve emailed gimenez about that issue

  2. ya says:

    I was viewing the televised hearing, and he was ‘called out’ on his hiring of these additional 5 employees at a rate of $250,000/yr for each, yet he never commented as to same.

  3. dt says:

    From the private sector — I have not had a salary adjustment in five years. In that same period of time, my contribution to the cost of my health insurance has increased 15% and my deductible has doubled. While I do sympathize, must I accept a further income reduction via increased taxes to provide benefits to public employees? I would like more explanation of what these new “assistants” are supposed to bring to the table. It seems to me they are nothing more than political favors or paybacks.

    1. ya says:

      These 5 assistants are usually ‘paybacks’ and/or political favors. The same scenario happened with Mayor Carlos Alvarez. After he made his big announcement as to cutbacks across the board to all Dade County employees, it became known to the public eye that he had just hired some assistants also at top pay and when questioned he was also unable to justify.
      As to sympathy, I am not mentioning this to receive sympathy but nevertheless to point out the unfairness of their trying to balance their mess on an employees wages. Perhaps Mr. Gimenez should freeze half of his salary and that of his highly paid staff, in addition to all the other kickbacks he receives like their car allowances, free gas and insurance, etc. Let him pay for his own car, gas and insurance just like the rest of us do. By the way I work for a sole practtitioner and have been doing the job of 4 people for the past 4 years and have yet to receive any increase myself. Yet the other day he mentioned that he needs to place his 18 year old son on our payroll for tax purposes? Go figure.

  4. CAM says:

    I STILL THINK THAT ASKING EMPLOYEES TO PARTISIPATE IN PAYING FOR THEIR OWN HEALTHCARE INSURANCE IS NOT ASKING TOO MUCH. THEY ARE CRYING OVER 10% PATISIPATION? LOOK AT THE PRIVET SECTOR

    1. ya says:

      If it were only 10%, I understand why it shouldn’t be such a big deal, but it is not just 10%. What is not made known to the public are the cuts that have been taking place amongst the Supervisors Union, these are employees who do not make over $100,000.00. So when you start by not paying them for legal holidays (which they have already done so), deducting additional contributions to their pension plan, reducing their salary, which by the way not everyone in the County received the COLA increase as published, only a certain sector (usually the executives), and they already took a deduction last year towards the healthcare (which of course increased), and now an additional 5%???? You do the math….it adds up for a worker making less than $100,000.00. Basically what the employees are seeking is that the Mayor look for other areas in which to deduct to balance the budget which has been a mess for years, and not balance off of the ‘worker’s back’. As to private industry, I have always been employed by private industry whereas the salaries may be a bit higher, but the benefits lack, and this is the reason for folks seeking employment with local and/or federal government.