Miami-Dade mayor: No police officer jobs will be cut

Police Benevolent Association representatives 'cautiously optimistic'

By Andrew Perez - Reporter

MIAMI - Representatives with the Police Benevolent Association said they were "cautiously optimistic" after hearing the news via local media; their sworn Miami-Dade police officer's jobs are once again safe.

"Today I can announce that not a single sworn police officer will lose their job because of our budgetary challenges," announced Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez during a press conference Thursday.

The mayor said his office has found the money to save the jobs of more than 100 police officers that would have likely been terminated.

Just months ago, that number was up to 400 officers. It has gone down every month since as the mayor's office continued crunching numbers and identifying millions of dollars in savings.

"I was elected to restore fiscal responsibility and balance to our county government and we have done so," Gimenez said.

The PBA, however, insists this public "dance" never needed to happen in the first place.

"We've been saying consistently the money is there," said PBA Secretary Luis Fuste. "It's all about allocation, allocation, allocation. What does the mayor put as priority?"

The money to cover these costs is coming from a number of budget moves including:
--Selling helicopters and leasing them instead.
--Redesigning the health plan
--A deal with the city of Miami Beach to defer $18 million in payments the county owes that city.

Cuts are still looming for many county employees including civilian workers with the Miami-Dade Police Department.

The PBA calls the timing of the mayor's announcement suspicious, just days after the police union helped Daniella Cava unseat commissioner Lynda Bell in the elections.

Commissioners must approve the budget before the start of the next fiscal year Oct. 1.

The PBA must still sit to negotiate on a contract.

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