Carlos-O-Meter

No layoffs for police; no closed fire stations

Gimenez "pledged to maintain services and not lay off police officers" or close fire stations.


Sources:

Miami Herald, "The I’m-not-Carlos-Alvarez election"

Subjects: County Budget, Jobs

Updates:

Miami-Dade County gets fire grant

Updated: Monday, December 2nd, 2013 | By Amy Sherman

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez can thank the federal government for helping him achieve his promise to not close fire stations.

During the 2011 campaign, Gimenez promised not to lay off police officers or close any fire stations. He had already kept his promise about police officers, but the ability to keep the fire part of the pledge was aided significantly after a federal grant came through.

Finally, on Nov. 29, it did.

Here's what happened. During annual budget negotiations in the summer of 2013, Gimenez proposed cuts that would have closed an existing fire station and halted one under construction. At that point, we moved his promise to Stalled.

Then, by September, as the county was finalizing its the budget, Gimenez said if trucks were going to be cut, the county would avoid shutting down any stations that only had one truck so that all stations could be kept open. So we moved the promise back to In the Works.

But uncertainty remained while the county awaited word on the grant -- and the waiting game was delayed due to the federal government shutdown.

Finally, on Nov. 29, the county learned that it had received an $11.4 million two-year Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER, Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In all, the grant will prevent the layoff of 59 firefighters, the closure of two fire engine companies and an aerial platform company, and the reduction in staffing on a number of other units.

The grant doesn't provide money for new hires, but no fire stations will close.  "Everything will remain in service," said Rowan Taylor, president of the firefighters' union.

On Dec. 2, the county confirmed that it had received the grant. So we rate this Promise Kept.

Sources:

Interview, Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade County spokeswoman, Dec. 2, 2013

Interview, Cristina Armand, Miami-Dade County Fire-Rescue spokeswoman, Dec. 2, 2013

Interview, Rowan Taylor, President of IAFF, Dec. 2, 2013

Federal shutdown puts Miami-Dade fire grant in limbo

Updated: Friday, October 11th, 2013 | By Amy Sherman

The federal government shutdown has placed a key public safety promise by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez in limbo.

During the 2011 campaign, Gimenez promised not to lay off police officers or close any fire stations.

But amid budget negotiations this summer, Gimenez wavered on the half of the promise that related to fire stations. One of his budget proposals included cuts that would close an existing fire station and one under construction. His proposal led us to move his promise to Stalled.

By the time county commissioners voted on the budget Sept. 10, 2013, they tentatively agreed on a budget that included removing a few trucks and laying off 59 firefighters. Gimenez said that if trucks were cut, the county would choose stations with more than one truck, which suggested that no stations would be entirely closed, so we moved Gimenez's promise to In the Works. Commissioners ratified their decision Sept. 20.

But those votes didn't bring the issue to a close, because county officials said they were waiting to learn if they would get a two-year $11.4 million federal grant that would make it possible to avoid the fire-rescue cuts. Miami-Dade County had expected to learn in mid to late October if it would get the grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But after the Oct. 1 federal government shutdown started, that placed the grant processing in limbo, said Rowan Taylor, president for the fire union.  

The fire department directed us to an article at firechief.com, an industry publication, that states federal government staff who handle several functions related to grants won't be working during the shutdown.

Even if the county doesn't get the FEMA grant, it appears likely that county commissioners could revisit the budget and decide whether to use contingency funds to avoid cuts.

"Worse case scenario it would be laying off firefighters," County spokeswoman Suzy Trutie said.  "Even if we don't get the grant stations will always open."

We will update Gimenez's promise to not close fire stations when the county learns about the FEMA grant or takes other action. With so much uncertain about the fire department's budget, we rate this promise In the Works.

Sources:

Miami Herald, "Miami-Dade commissioners approve county budget," Sept. 20, 2013

Firechief.com, "What the federal shutdown means for fire grant programs," Oct. 8, 2013

Interview, Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade County spokeswoman, Oct. 10, 2013

Interview, Griselle Marino, spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County Fire, Oct. 11, 2013

Interview, Rowan Taylor, President of IAFF, Oct. 11, 2013

Closing fire stations no longer on the table

Updated: Monday, September 16th, 2013 | By Amy Sherman

In July, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez took a step backward on half of a key promise about public safety when he proposed a budget that would have closed two fire stations. He earned a Stalled rating on our Carlos-O-Meter.

His full promise during the 2011 campaign was not to lay off any police officers or close any fire stations.

No police officers will be laid off. But how did Gimenez -- a former city of Miami fire chief -- get to the point where he proposed shuttering fire stations?

On July 9, Gimenez pitched a tax rate hike to avoid library and fire-rescue cuts and fully fund a plan to stop killing sheltered dogs and cats. County commissioners, many of whom face re-election next year, balked. Within days, Gimenez had dropped his tax rate hike proposal.

When Gimenez presented a new budget plan, the worst-case scenario for fire-rescue included 149 layoffs and cutting six units out of 139 to cover an approximately $15 million shortfall.

Most fire stations have a fire truck unit and a rescue truck unit; however, one of the stations -- Eastern Shores -- has just one rescue  truck which means it would have closed down. Also on the list for closure was Cutler Bay, a station under construction.

On July 16, commissioners voted 8-4 to keep the tax rate flat, and the fire union and libraries started a public relations battle to protect their workers and facilities.

Throughout the summer, the county found some ways to lower the shortfall in fire-rescue including by cutting vacant positions. The scope of the proposed cuts were reduced to three trucks and 59 fire-rescue layoffs to save about $5 million. Many of the employees who would be laid off are recent recruits who finished their training this summer and have been on the job for weeks.

At a budget hearing on Sept. 10, 2013, that went on for more than eight hours, county commissioners voted 9-4 to raid reserves to give the libraries a reprieve. Technically, the cuts for fire-rescue remain, but the county expects to learn by late October if it will get a two-year federal grant to avoid the cuts. As the county awaits word on the grant, it won't cut the trucks or firefighters yet.

Gimenez said that if any trucks are cut, it would be those located in stations with more than one truck.  

"It would eliminate fire protection from an area or rescue from an area depending on what truck they close,” said Rowan Taylor, president of the firefighters union. "The station itself would remain open.”

We won't know the final outcome for fire-rescue until after the county commission votes again on the budget on Sept. 19, and the county learns about the grant in October. However, it appears that the county is moving in the direction of not shuttering stations. So for now we rate this claim In the Works.

Sources:

Miami Herald, "For activists, first Miami-Dade budget hearing will be last chance to ask commission for tax rate hike,” Sept. 9, 2013

Miami Herald, "Miami-Dade will raid reserves to avoid library layoffs, maintain hours,” Sept. 11, 2013

Interview, Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade County spokeswoman, Sept. 13, 2013

Interview, Rowan Taylor, President of IAFF, Sept. 13, 2013

Facing budget pressures, Gimenez proposes cuts to fire units

Updated: Thursday, July 18th, 2013 | By Amy Sherman

In 2012, we gave Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez a Promise Kept for not laying off police officers or closing fire stations. But a new budget proposal by Gimenez could mean that he breaks half that promise.

He made the promise during a 2011 radio debate:

Moderator Jim Defede (CBS-4 reporter): "Are you saying that under your administration if you were mayor you will not lay off any police officers and you will not close any fire stations?"

Gimenez: "Yeah, I will not close any fire stations."

DeFede: "And laying off police officers?"

Gimenez: "I'm not laying off any police officers. That's correct. But police officers and fire stations -- now remember there is more to those departments than police officers and firefighters. ... There are a lot of people behind desks that should be on the street."

In early July Gimenez proposed a property-tax rate hike to maintain services, including libraries and fire-rescue, and to fund a plan to stop killing cats and dogs at the animal shelter, a move voters approved in a non-binding straw ballot.

County commissioners, some facing re-election next year, balked at the tax increase, so Gimenez lowered the proposed increase, the Miami Herald reported. But commissioners criticized that proposal, too.  

So Gimenez scrapped the idea of a tax rate hike and unveiled yet another budget proposal -- this one with service cuts -- on July 15. The next day, the county commission voted 8-4 in favor of the flat tax rate. The tentative vote means that the county commission could further lower the tax rate -- but not raise it -- when they take a final vote after public hearings in September.

The worst-case scenario for fire-rescue includes 149 layoffs and cutting six units out of 139.

According to the county, the six units slated for elimination are:

• Rescue 78 – Eastern Shores/North Miami Beach

• Rescue 70 – Cutler Bay/Coconut Palm

• Rescue 72 – Homestead/ Florida City

• Platform 21 – Haulover

• Engine 27 – North Bay Village

• Engine 5 – Goulds

Most fire stations have a fire truck unit and a rescue truck unit; however, the Eastern Shores station has just one rescue truck, according to Rowan Taylor, president of the Metro-Dade International Association of Firefighters. That means to close that unit would shut down the station, Taylor said. (County spokeswoman Suzy Trutie confirmed that this station would close.)

The plan also calls for eliminating a rescue truck at Cutler Bay -- a station that is currently under construction. Taylor said construction on that site would stop. Although this station isn't open yet, the truck is in service at another nearby station, Trutie said.

We won't know the final outcome of the budget until county commissioners take the final vote Sept. 19. The current budget plan includes no police layoffs, so Gimenez has kept half his promise here. But he is on track to break the other half because the budget plan would close one existing fire station and one under construction. For now we rate this promise Stalled.

Sources:

Miami Herald, "Mayor: Cut services, but don"t hike tax rate,” July 16, 2013

Miami Herald, "Miami-Dade commissioners sign off on flat property-tax rate that will lead to library, fire cuts,” July 16, 2013

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Memo to county commission about budget, July 16, 2013

Interview, Rowan Taylor, president of the Metro-Dade International Association of Firefighters, July 16, 2013

Interview, Suzy Trutie, spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County, July 16, 2013

Second budget approved without police layoffs

Updated: Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 | By Amy Sherman

When Miami-Dade County Commissioners approved the 2012-13 budget in September, it didn't involve the fireworks of the recent past, the Miami Herald reported. One reason was that layoffs were not part of the deal.

Commissioners approved the $5.9 billion budget on Sept. 20, 2012, in an 11-1 vote with Joe Martinez, the county chairman who lost the mayoral race against Gimenez in August, voting against it. (Commissioner Dennis Moss was absent.) The budget did not include any layoffs, although it did cut hundreds of vacant positions.

The budget included funding to recruit new firefighters and hire at least two classes of police officers. County spokeswoman Suzy Trutie told PolitiFact Florida that the number of new firefighters and police officers added depends on attrition.

The budget also did not close any fire stations. That means that Gimenez delivered on his promise to avoid laying off police officers or closing fire stations. Promise Kept.

Sources:

Miami-Dade County, Memo for the second budget hearing, Sept. 20, 2012

Miami Herald, "Miami-Dade Commission holds second budget hearing tonight,” Accessed in Nexis, Sept. 20, 2012

Miami Herald, "Miami-Dade Commissioners sign off on county budget, spend more time talking about Jackson hospital,” Accessed in Nexis, Sept. 20, 2012

Interview, Suzy Trutie,  Miami-Dade County spokeswoman, Nov. 5, 2012

Gimenez wants to hire more police officers

Updated: Monday, July 23rd, 2012 | By Amy Sherman

While Mayor Carlos Gimenez vowed to trim county spending, he promised to protect two key parts of public safety: He said he would not lay off police officers or close fire stations. He received a Promise Kept in his first year of office.

Even though Gimenez avoided laying off police officers, there were hundreds of vacancies and some pain in the department, which you can read about in our previous update below.

In July, Gimenez unveiled his $5.9 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. Gimenez said in his budget message that his proposal would "avoid further layoffs,” and that includes police officers. (The current fiscal year's budget included laying off 127 employees, although none were police officers.)

The mayor's proposal for the upcoming 2012-13 year eliminates 612 positions countywide — the net total of cutting vacant jobs and creating 106 new ones.

The budget includes eliminating 56 empty positions in the police department and hiring an additional 50 police officers.

No fire stations will close, said Suzy Trutie, a county spokeswoman.

County commissioners will finalize the budget Sept. 20, so we will revisit this promise after that meeting. For now Gimenez gets a Promise Kept.

Sources:

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Budget message, July 12, 2012

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Proposed budget executive summary, July 12, 2012

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Proposed police department budget, July 12, 2012

Miami Herald, "Miami-Dade mayor proposes hold-the-line budget with lower tax rate,”July 12, 2012

Interview, Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade County spokeswoman, July 19, 2012

No police layoffs but department has faced pain

Updated: Friday, June 29th, 2012 | By Amy Sherman

Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he would not lay off police officers, so he struck a deal that required them to pay more for health care. He also kept his word about not shuttering fire stations. So we rated this two-part promise as Promise Kept.

The Miami Herald wrote in March that although the police department avoided layoffs, it has still undergone significant changes, including getting rid of the cargo theft and auto theft task forces. It has also slashed specialized units that focus on homeland security, agricultural patrol and community policing.

Gimenez is expected to unveil his proposal for next year's budget in July 2012. He hasn't made any public commitments about the police budget, but the preliminary tax roll indicated a modest increase, which bodes well for his goal of averting police layoffs or closing fire stations.

John Rivera, president of the Police Benevolent Association, told PolitiFact Florida that he has received no indication so far from Gimenez about his plans for the next proposed budget. But he said that the county has sought a meeting with union officials regarding layoff procedures in addition to other issues. Rivera also said that although there have been no layoffs, there are hundreds of vacancies.

"We cannot continue operating the way we are,” he said. The PBA endorsed County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez, Gimenez's main challenger, in the Aug. 14 primary.

As for fire fighting, no fire stations were closed, said Rowan Taylor, president of the local firefighters union. Before this year's budget, two crews were dedicated to staff fire boats and that changed. Under Gimenez's budget a rescue crew responds as needed, Taylor said.

When the union interviewed Gimenez as part of the endorsement screening process in June, Gimenez said that there would be no further service cuts, Taylor said. The union endorsed Gimenez, a former firefighter.

This remains a Promise Kept, and we will watch what happens in the upcoming budget cycle.

Sources:

Miami Herald, "No layoffs but plenty of change at Miami-Dade Police; Miami-Dade Police,” March 3, 2012

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Preliminary tax roll memo, May 31, 2012

Interview, Rowan Taylor, president of the Metro-Dade International Association of Firefighters, June 25, 2012

Interview, John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade local of the Police Benevolent Association, June 25, 2012

Interview, Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade County spokeswoman, June 25, 2012

To avoid police lay-offs, commission strikes budget deal

Updated: Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 | By Amy Sherman

Miami-Dade County Commissioners struck a budget deal to avert layoffs of police officers, helping Mayor Carlos Gimenez deliver on a key promise to voters.

During the 2011 campaign, Gimenez promised not to lay off any police officers or close any fire stations. The county got through the budgeting and fire contract process without shuttering stations, but the police department budget issues took longer to resolve.

A brief recap:

On Jan. 5, county commissioners rejected a proposal from Gimenez to require police officers and some other workers to pay an extra 5 percent toward health care, doubling their contribution. Their decision left an unresolved estimated $35 million budget gap -- about half related to police. Gimenez vetoed the commissioners' votes, and the county started sending pink slips on Jan. 13 to 118 police officers, 17 corrections employees and at least 68 professionals and supervisors. 

On Jan. 24, county commissioners voted 7-6 to require employees to contribute an extra 4 percent for a total of 9 percent. The county will also contribute $10 million from a reserve fund designated for employee health insurance claims.

Employees would have lost their jobs Feb. 3, but that won't happen now. The county sent notices to police officers rescinding the layoffs, county spokeswoman Suzy Trutie said.

While we'll be watching to see if things change, but for now this is a Promise Kept

Sources:

Miami Herald, "Miami-Dade Commission reaches compromise, averts employee layoffs," Jan. 24, 2012

Interview, Suzy Trutie, county spokeswoman, Jan. 25, 2012

Gimenez in high-stakes battle with commission over budget

Updated: Monday, January 16th, 2012 | By Amy Sherman

Talk about eerie timing -- on Friday the 13th of January, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez started sending pink slips to hundreds of county workers, including 118 police officers. (Here's a sample lay off notice.)

During his 2011 campaign for county mayor, Gimenez promised not to lay off police officers or firefighters. 

He seemed on track to keep that promise thanks to actions from the county commission in 2011. In November, the county commission signed off on a contract with firefighters that averted layoffs. In December, the commission voted in favor of a contract with the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association that avoided layoffs but left open one key issue: whether to force police officers to pay more toward health insurance.

Then, on Jan. 5, 2012, county commissioners voted 7-6 against requiring police officers and corrections officers to pay an extra 5 percent toward health care, doubling their contribution. (Commissioners also rejected a similar hike for employees represented by the Government Supervisors Association of Florida.) That left an estimated budget gap of about $35 million -- about half related to the PBA.

During the campaign, Gimenez made it clear that he would seek concessions from unions to reduce the chance of layoffs.

"The more you get concessions from labor the fewer people that you are going to have to lay off," he told the Miami Herald editorial board May 4, 2011.

On Jan. 11, Gimenez vetoed that health care vote. The commission is expected to respond to Gimenez's vetoes at its Jan. 24 meeting and needs a two-thirds vote to override Gimenez's vetoes. 

If the commission overrides the veto, the county won't impose the extra 5 percent contribution and the layoffs will occur, said county spokeswoman Suzy Trutie in an e-mail. If the commission doesn't override the veto, they still have to resolve the impasse and layoffs remain a possibility.

In addition to the 118 police facing layoffs, 17 in corrections also face layoffs. About 282 people represented by the Government Supervisors Association across various departments were also expected to face layoffs. Once the notices are issued, actual layoffs will not occur until 21 days later. (Read more about the layoffs in the Miami Herald.)

We should note that Gimenez discussed his promise not to lay off police officers in detail during a June 7, 2011, debate on WMBM-AM (1490) radio station in the final weeks of the campaign. 

We obtained a recording of the radio debate to see how Gimenez worded his promise during a discussion about budget cuts and the police and fire departments:

Moderator Jim Defede (CBS-4 reporter): "Are you saying that under your administration if you were mayor you will not lay off any police officers and you will not close any fire stations?"

Gimenez: "Yeah, I will not close any fire stations."

DeFede: "And laying off police officers?"

Gimenez: "I'm not laying off any police officers. That's correct. But police officers and fire stations -- now remember there is more to those departments than police officers and firefighters. ... There are a lot of people behind desks that should be on the street."

(For a debate refresher check out CBS-4's video and written article.) 

The Miami Herald later paraphrased Gimenez and his opponent Julio Robaina as saying that "they pledged to maintain services and not lay off police officers or firefighters." PolitiFact originally wrote this promise as "not lay off police officers or firefighters." PolitiFact is changing the promise to not lay off police officers or close fire stations, because that more precisely reflects Gimenez's comments and theoretically the county could close a station without layoffs. 

Gimenez promised not to layoff police officers or close fire stations. He kept his promise about not closing fire stations but has started the process to lay off police officers. Gimenez is now on track to break half of this promise but we may not know the outcome until the 21-day period expires. Because the situation is uncertain, the rating remains In the Works. 

Sources:

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Memo about layoffs, Jan. 13, 2012

Miami-Dade County, Sample lay off notice, Jan. 13, 2012

CBS-4, "Miami-Dade mayoral candidates take debate to the airwaves," June 7, 2011

Miami Herald"Police layoffs expected after Miami-Dade commissioners refuse to impose healthcare concession," Jan. 5, 2012

Miami Herald"Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez plans to veto commission moves in bid to avert police layoffs," Jan. 7, 2012

Miami Herald, "Candidates for Miami-Dade mayor spar in debate," (viewed in Nexis) June 7, 2011

Miami Herald editorial board,"Interview with Miami-Dade County mayoral candidates," May 4, 2011

Miami Herald, "The I'm-not-Carlos-Alvarez election," (viewed in the Herald's archives) June 26, 2011

Miami Herald"PBA votes to accept pay cuts," Dec. 6, 2011

Miami Herald"Deficit rises as Miami-Dade County, unions slowly negotiate contracts," Nov. 15, 2011

Miami Herald"Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez vetoes commission union vote," Jan. 11, 2012

Miami Herald"Scores of Miami-Dade employees get layoff notices," Jan. 14, 2012

Miami-Dade County,"Collective bargaining agreement between Miami-Dade County, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department and the Metro-Dade Firefighters IAFF Local 1403," Oct. 1, 2011-Sept. 30, 2014

Miami-Dade County,"IAFF contractual concessions/savings," Relates to the Oct. 1, 2011-Sept. 30, 20114 contract

Miami-Dade County, Commission meeting minutes, Nov. 15, 2011

Interview, Suzy Trutie, Jan. 6-13, 2012 

Miami-Dade approves contracts with police officers and firefighters

Updated: Thursday, December 8th, 2011 | By Amy Sherman

It appears unlikely that there will be any pink slips for Miami-Dade police officers and firefighters now that the county has approved three-year contracts for both unions.

During his 2011 campaign for county mayor, Carlos Gimenez pledged not to lay off police officers or firefighters. The annual county budget approved by commissioners Sept. 23, 2011, didn't lay off any sworn police officers or firefighters but Gimenez left open that possibility as the county negotiated contracts with the unions. In October, Gimenez threatened to send pink slips to about 90 police officers later that month but ultimately that didn't happen as negotiations progressed.

On Dec. 5, 2011, the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association overwhelmingly voted for a new contract that avoids layoffs. The three-year contract will save the county $56 million, the Miami Herald reported, by cutting some incentive pay and overtime among other changes. On Dec. 6, the County Commission voted 12-0 in favor of the contract.

The cost-cutting for the police department isn't over, the Herald reported. The county still wants an additional $18 million and commissioners will vote later in December on whether employees should kick in an extra 5 percent of their salary toward health insurance, doubling their contribution. The impasse items will be heard by county commissioners Dec. 19.

"Once the impasse items are resolved, then we will know if there are no layoffs," county spokeswoman Suzy Trutie told PolitiFact Florida in an email.

On Nov. 14, firefighters agreed to a contract that trimmed about $20.6 million and cut back on overtime and instituted three-day furloughs each year while keeping cost of living and merit increases. The $20.6 million is the estimated savings in the first year of the agreement, however the savings will be recurring over the life of the agreement unless changes happen as part of the reopener on the third year, Trutie said in an email. County commissioners approved the contract 7-3 on Nov. 15.

We will wait to see how the county handles the health insurance contribution on Dec. 19 but the county is close to resolving contract issues that could avert layoffs. We rate this promise In the Works.

Sources:

Miami Herald, "PBA votes to accept pay cuts," Dec. 6, 2011

Miami Herald, "Deficit rises as Miami-Dade County, unions slowly negotiate contracts," Nov. 15, 2011

Miami-Dade County, "Collective bargaining agreement between Miami-Dade County, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department and the Metro-Dade Firefighters IAFF Local 1403," Oct. 1, 2011-Sept. 30, 2014

Miami-Dade County, "IAFF contractual concessions/savings," Relates to the Oct. 1, 2011-Sept. 30, 20114 contract

Miami-Dade County, Commission meeting minutes, Nov. 15, 2011

Interview, Suzy Trutie, spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County, Dec. 6, 2011

Budget spares police officers and firefighters, for now

Updated: Monday, October 10th, 2011 | By Amy Sherman

While Carlos Gimenez campaigned for Miami-Dade County mayor he vowed to reduce the bloated county government. He made it clear that he planned to cut hundreds of millions of dollars including getting rid of jobs and reducing workers' paychecks.

But there were two jobs that Gimenez and his opponent, former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, said would remain protected: They pledged not to lay off police officers or firefighters, the Miami Herald reported.

The county budget, approved by commissioners Sept. 23, 2011, did include layoffs -- it cut about 639 filled positions -- but none were for sworn police officers or firefighters. The budget for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1 included cutting about 252 positions in the police department and 173 in the fire department, but those positions were for civilians or were vacant.

That said, Gimenez, a former Miami firefighter and fire chief, has thrown down the gauntlet for weeks by threatening that if the unions don't agree to about $239 million in concessions, more layoffs would occur. And many of those layoffs could come from police and fire.

He addressed the potential for layoffs on Oct. 5 while attending an event at police headquarters in Doral. 

When a reporter for WFOR-CBS4 asked Gimenez what would happen if negotiations with the Police Benevolent Association fail, Gimenez said that layoff notices would be sent out around Oct. 17 and if an agreement isn't reached, 90 police officers would be laid off about three weeks later, Gimenez spokeswoman Suzy Trutie said.  The Herald reported about Gimenez's layoff plan Oct. 6:

"Gimenez told county commissioners Tuesday he plans to begin declaring impasse in negotiations next week with at least several of the 10 unions if agreements aren't reached. The parties could choose to go before a special magistrate or skip that step and go directly to the county commission, which ultimately decides on county labor pacts. The county has proposed an 8 percent pay cut for most workers, but has allowed unions to devise their own proposals for achieving cost savings. As part of those cuts, the county is pressing employees to give back pay increases handed out in the last contracts. In most cases, those increases totaled 3 percent, but for police officers, the increases were much higher, totaling about 13 percent. That means police are being pressed for the biggest givebacks."

The subject at the Oct. 5 event was about police officers since the event was at police headquarters. But Trutie said that the county is negotiating with all 10 unions and that means firefighters are in the same boat although she did not have a number for how many firefighters could face layoffs. 

Gimenez has said that he would first target specialized units and wants to spare officers who respond to 911 calls.

"On the street level, those services are not going to be affected," Gimenez told the Herald. "We'll do layoffs up to the level we can do them without affecting public safety."

John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade PBA, said the union is scheduled to next meet with the county Oct. 12. The officers facing layoffs include those who have been with the department up to three years, Rivera said.

Gimenez did not propose laying off sworn officers or firefighters in the budget that commissioners approved Sept. 23 -- an important step toward his goal of avoiding layoffs for those employees. But he has said if concessions aren't reached police officers could lose their jobs and it's clear that firefighters face the same plight -- the outcome of that battle will become more clear by Nov. 1. For now we rate this promise In the Works.

Sources:

Miami Herald"The I'm-Not-Carlos-Alvarez election," June 26, 2011

Miami Herald"Miami-Dade commission backs budget but demurs on reorganization plan," Sept. 9, 2011

Miami Herald,"Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez: Layoffs of police officers planned if talks fail," Oct. 6, 2011

Miami Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Budget Proposal executive summary, July 2011

Interview, Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade county spokeswoman, Sept. 15-Oct. 6, 2011

Interview, John Rivera, Miami Dade Police Benevolent Association president, Oct. 6, 2011

Interview, Dominick Barbera, Miami Dade International Association of Firefighters president, Sept. 15, 2011

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