Last week, I delivered my first State of the County address. I focused on the state of our entire community, rather than just the state of county government.
The past few years have been challenging for all of us, but I am convinced better days lie ahead. I am building a County government we can afford and helps create jobs, so that we can reach the prosperous future that we all want for our families.
Changing the Direction of Government
In a few short months, we have put in motion the kinds of reforms that typically take years to happen, if they are even attempted. Leading by example, on day one I set the tone by slashing my own salary in half and cutting over $1 million from my budget. We are changing the direction of the County, by:
Securing needed concessions from our labor unions to avoid laying off hundreds of public safety officers and employees
- Cutting government waste, while maintaining vital services
- Slashing County departments from 42 to 26, and
- Creating the conditions for my top priority, job creation
By shaking up the County bureaucracy, we are saving taxpayers over $30 million this year, and more than $40 million next year. In the process, we’re cutting government red tape and streamlining permitting to unleash the limitless potential of our job-creators.
Priority Number One: Jobs
My efforts to make County government more business friendly are no coincidence: job creation is my top priority for 2012. A restructured government is vital to that goal, starting with:
- An expedited permitting process
- Eliminating outdated regulations
- A streamlined, customer-friendly organization, and
- Less red tape
Going forward, to have the kind of economically viable community that we all want, we are partnering with friends in business and education.
I co-chair the Beacon Council’s One Community One Goal initiative – it’s a roadmap for our community’s future economic growth. Our mission is to attract new industries to our community – life sciences, information technology, and creative design – while building on our successful trade, tourism and finance sectors. As the U.M. Life Science & Technology Park is already proving, we have the ability to support forward-thinking, technology-driven industries.
Building on these successes requires that we keep a strong focus on educating our children, preparing them for the future and ending the brain-drain of our most talented students leaving our community. One way to do that is connecting our students with our partners in the private and not-for-profit sectors through internships and hands-on training programs.
We are working in conjunction with South Florida Workforce to make $1.5 million available to college students from disadvantaged communities throughout Miami-Dade so that they can participate in paid internships with local businesses this summer.