Regalado Must Go: Miami Declares Financial Morass Again

Categories: El Jefe
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​To sidestep union demands and deal with its burgeoning financial crisis, the City of Miami declared a situation of financial urgency. It is the second straight year the city has done this.

The idea stinks. (The text of Martinez's declaration follows the jump.) It gives the union 14 days to negotiate new contracts and puts the power squarely in the administration's lap.

Now, I'm not saying some city employees aren't overpaid, They are, particularly in the fire department. But the city has been bending over for its unions for decades -- particularly in a 2007 contract -- and only now is waking up. This is another result of the poor planning and management that was described in staff writer Tim Elfrink's recent story that started the ball rolling on Mayor Tomás Regalado's recall.

The pretty good Miami Herald story about the fiscal urgency decision describes the union anger. It fails, though, to point the finger at the city's ineptitude, which recently caused a bond downgrade and is likely to cause layoffs before the year is up. It fairly notes that commissioners were forced into a corner when they adopted Regalado's lowering of the tax rate. Sounds rather like Bush tax cuts, doesn't it?

So far, only the police union has voted for the Regalado recall. The fire union, which has been treated better, stopped short. It should move forward.

More important, voters should consider this ineptitude when considering commissioners and the mayor next time around. It is an embarrassment to the Magic City -- particularly after the fine stewardship of Regalado's predecessor, Manny Diaz.

Here is the full text of Martinez's declaration of financial urgency:

Please be advised that I am declaring a financial urgency pursuant to section 447.4095 Florida Statutes, with regard to our collective bargaining obligations involving the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 20, AFSCME Local 1907, AFSCME Local 871, and International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 587. By separate letter, the City's collective bargaining negotiating team will contact the representatives of these employee organizations and begin the (14) day period of negotiations.

Johnny Martinez, P. E.

City Manager

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Rafael
Rafael

Every dog has his day I'll be glad the day that mut gets his.

Taxpayers deserve a break
Taxpayers deserve a break

There are about 650 certified firemen and about 1,100 certified policemen.  The Fire Department employees make much more than the police employees because the fire union is more powerful.

85% of the fire employees and 83% of the police employees hate the City of Miami so much they live in Broward County and other cities outside Miami.

The taxpayers gets screwed.

City is screwed
City is screwed

Tomas Regalado is corrupt and not very smart but Manny Diaz was corrupt and mildly smart. Manny Diaz took a City with a $140 Mil Reserve and he left a $120 MILLION deficit for the corrupt Tomas Regalado. Manny Diaz was the Mayor in 2007 when the fire union members and the Fire Department executives became the Best Paid Firemen in the World. 15 fire department employees with $300,000+ pay and benefit packages.

Sarnoff pushed the 2007 contract. The fire union had just endorsed him and they managed his campaign.

Now the City is f**ked.

getreal
getreal

If we are looking to place blame…where do we start?  The Mayor? Commissioners? City Manager? Greedy Unions?  How many years do we go back?   The fact is employees across the board at the city are way OVER PAID and in most cases well under experience.  The biggest problem at the city is lack of leadership, lack of management and accountability at ALL LEVELS.  Let’s name a few:  Hector Mirable 2007 – negotiated the most profitable UNION contracts FIRE avg.  22% increase; GENERAL Employees avg 13.50% increase and POLICE Contract which by the way put some big bucks in Hector’s pocket (conflict of interest?), TODAY Hector is South Miami’s City Manager, Hector was appointed to Director of HR - with no HR experience but was appointed, his departure brought us – Elsa Jaramillo, inexperienced to be the Director of ER – today Director of HR at Coral Gables, Michelle Pina zero experience, admin to Director of HR, Carlos Migoya – didn’t he save the city from a financial crisis that gained him the monster salary at Jackson Memorial Hospital?  Roger Hermdstad still employed at Miami-Dade when he received his first payroll check at the City of Miami– who was he?  Assistant to City Manager…what did he contributed to the city? Well he is now the City Manager at Marathon Key, ….Commissioners and Mayor approved Victor Igwe, Jorge Fernandez, Priscilla Thompson, Shirley Richardson, Julie Brue, etc resolution (check these out); Regalado as a commissioner voted for these union monster contracts so did the rest of the commissioners including Sarnoff, today Mayor Regalado has in place the “Friends and Family Plan” hiring only friends and family with or without experience who don’t stand up to him….Look at Teresita Fernandez – retired and paid for months because no one would have the courage to terminate her file, recent appointed Assistant City Manager, Cindy Torres, Director of ERP, keep digging…Pete Chuicut, Treasure who son is working in Payroll (conflict of interest?) - the bottom-line is the city has been broken for many, many years, the culture embedded is to take while you can – see nothing – hear nothing – say nothing- …..You can have a bachelor in “basket weaving” and yet be appointed to a director’s role which in most organization required a 10-15 years of solid experience…..at the city – you have a bachelor in basket weaving so you are good to go……play by the rules, and your excel in your career…check it out – don’t blame the Unions, nor their employees, leadership and management starts at the top – don’t blame the little people – it's like blaming kids for misbehaving when the parents are stealing up a storm…..City of Miami needs real LEADESHIP - new Mayor, new Commissioners who really cares about our community, a “real” City Manager skilled professional, and new administration driven by skills and experience not basket weaving bachelors…..Get real….give our community sustainable growth, our fire department, our police office and real management for the millions your are wasting….

Truth be told
Truth be told

For the record...Miami Fire Dept. has a little more than 600 firefighters and Miami Police Dept. has close to 1200 officers.  The Miami Herald has (once again) reported incorrect information. Additionally, the Fire Dept responds to medical calls, as well as, fires, traffic accidents, etc...  Also, the Herald has been printing incorrect salaries for years.  They used the figures from 2008 when the Fire and Police Departments received retroactive pay from a contract settlement that the City (once again) ignored and also refused to promote and hire resulting in a great deal of overtime for that calender year.  As an example, a Chief Fire Officer with 30 years on the job makes just over 130K a year.  This position is the same as an upper level manager in the private sector and this salary is in line with the roles and responsibilities of his/her mirror in the private sector. The large salaries still in existance are the executive staff of the police and fire departments.  They make over 200K a year and are not members of the union.  They negotiate their pay and benefits directly with the City Manager and Mayor.  These indiviuals, including Veldora Arthur, did not recieve any pay cuts while the union members took over 20% pay cuts (on average) last year alone.  Also,  Mayor Regalado's staff members did not recieve a pay cut.  Instead they received pay raises while the rest of the "worker bees" were forced to slash their pay. Do as I say, not as I do...Mr. Regalado.  Lets get the facts straight and remember that this publication should do its own investigative reporting and not rely on the "lies" printed by Charles Rabin and Regalado's other media lackies.

mad in miami
mad in miami

It is an embarrassment to the Magic City -- particularly after the fine stewardship of Regalado's predecessor, Manny Diaz.

!?!HUH!?!The current financial mess is the direct result of inept financial stewardship of the Diaz administration

Institutional Memory
Institutional Memory

 . . . . . .  and who pushed for those huge salary and pension increases in 2007 for the firefighters to gain their support for the 2007 election?  None other than Mr. Ethics - Commissioner Marc David Sarnoff (no relation to General Sarnoff - would not want to taint his name!)

Guest
Guest

If the 2007 union contract was so bad how can Manny Diaz be credited with fine stewardship as you claim in your post?  He certainly can not be credited with fine fiscal stewardship He was a proponent of the port of Miami tunnel and the new Marlins stadium which have both been accurately characterized in this publication as nothing more than government boondoggles.It seems to me that Diaz just benefited from higher revenue collection due to the soaring property values during the bulk of his reign.  Manny Diaz always gets the benefit of the doubt because he's not Joe Carollo and he did not embarrass the city like the previous mayor did, however a closer look at Diaz's record as Mayor will show a person that was to cozy with condominium developers and to reckless with city coffers. 

P_Nis
P_Nis

It's about time, throw this fucker and his crew out. Fire department? $300k+ and a take home car for federally indicted assistant fire chief Veldora Arthur whose been sitting at home on paid leave since being indicted for millions of dollars worth of fraud. With benefits like that, why would the FD want to get involved in a messy recall and take time away from their second jobs?

Confused
Confused

Why is there 1100 firefighters and only 900 police officers in this city? It seems to me there is alot more crime going on then fires.

Soledad829
Soledad829

Idiot there anot 1100 firefighters in the city.  Get your numbers straight.

soledad829
soledad829

Another person not worth wasting my time talkting with.

Donkelly407
Donkelly407

 Reality. Obviously you are a firefighter hater, until you need one.

Reality
Reality

You are such an idiot soledad. Obviously you are a firefighter lover and a annual purchaser of they're yearly calendar. The firefighters here are so ridiculously overpaid its unfair and poor fiscal practices. They have stations that do nothing daily, yet get paid to sleep. The city crime rate is creeping up and they are already short 100`s of officers. Its common sense.

Gmix
Gmix

Actually there is 1100 members of the fire department. Who is uninformed. The firefighters make 100k to sleep and work out. We need more cops on the street to stop these ak47 brazing thugs.

Donkelly407
Donkelly407

That is why it is called fire RESCUE!!!. So far this year the fire/RESCUE department has responded to more thans 58,458 emergency calls. Uninformed is what you are.

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