Miami-Dade commission upholds mayor's veto of restored pay

Employees to continue without 5%

By Glenna Milberg - Reporter , Ben Candea

MIAMI - A Miami-Dade commissioner changed her vote Tuesday, allowing Mayor Carlos Gimenez's veto of returning 5 percent pay to 26,000 county employees to stand.

"Is it our intent to never give back the 5 percent?" asked Commissioner Barbara Jordan.

"Our intent is to run this government structurally sound because we have to have a balanced budget," said Gimenez.

Commission Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa changed her vote. If the 5 percent was restored, the county would stand to lose $56 million that would be covered by letting 100 employees go and cutting services.

"When the mayor came to explain that it was impossible to accomplish that without touching services, then I cannot support something because this community pays for its services," said Sosa.

"It's up to the unions to decide whether they want zero or all," said Gimenez. "I think they need to come off, also."

The veto brought union leaders back to an impasse.

"Everyone know there's money," said John Rivera, president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association. "This is more a political thing from the mayor."

"Each county employee has given thousands of dollars. It's time to say thank you and stop taking it," added Martha Baker, president of SEIU Local 1991.

"Both sides gotta agree to negotiate," said Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz. "Ladies and gentlemen -- it's like a marriage."

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