Miami-Dade commissioners vote to give themselves substantial raise

Miami-Dade commissioner voted early Wednesday morning to drastically increase their salaries.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade County commissioners met Tuesday night and voted early Wednesday morning in favor of drastically increasing their compensation.

They were talking about the county budget, and a proposal to pay themselves with taxpayer dollars after leaving office.

Those commissioners made their case for why they deserve a raise.

“The salary for county commissioners is $6,000,” said Dist. 1 Commissioner Oliver G. Gilbert. “I need to say that clearly -- it’s $6,000.”

County documents show that while Miami-Dade commissioners make a base salary of $6,000, there are also additional allowances and compensations totaling about $55,000 per year.

“I have been sitting in this table for 21 years, the commissioners who sit in this table deserve a better salary because the amount of hours that they have to dedicate to the commission, to the meetings, is incredible,” said Dist. 6 Commissioner Rebeca Sosa.

On page 481 of a 750-page attachment, Local 10 News found the county pay plan for the next fiscal year.

It proposes more than doubling commissioner salary benefits to roughly $130,000.

“We are being transparent in our discussion today, but this was not introduced in a transparent fashion. And that makes me quite upset,” said Dist. 5 Commissioner Eileen Higgins.

Another point of contention was a proposal for a so-called ambassador program.

It would pay retired commissioners up to $25,000 per year to take part in events representing county government.

There are multiple versions of the program that could be voted on, but the first version up for vote on Tuesday failed seven to five.

Shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday, commissioners voted 7-to-5 in favor of giving themselves raises (in total compensation, not underlying salary) of more than $130,000 a year.

The ambassador program measure failed, however, in a 5-to-7 vote.

About the Authors:

Christian De La Rosa joined Local 10 News in April 2017 after spending time as a reporter and anchor in Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando and Panama City Beach.

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.