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Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman June 29, 2012

Gimenez got union concessions to deliver on promise to reverse raises

When the Carlos Alvarez administration laid the groundwork for $132 million in raises as taxpayers were suffering in a weak economy, that set the stage for the historic 2011 recall of the mayor. Carlos Gimenez, who won Alvarez's seat in June 2011, promised to reverse those raises.

"We must take back the raises that Carlos Alvarez gave," he said shortly before he was elected in June 2011. "With more than 70 percent of the county's operating budget comprised of salaries and benefits, this budget can't be balanced otherwise.” 

In 2011, we gave Gimenez an In the Works after he slashed his own pay and benefits in half, took steps to reduce police salaries and non-union salaries.

Since then, the county has completed negotiations with all 10 unions. In total, the county received about $239 million in employee concessions for one year -- $135 million from general fund and $104 million from fire, library and proprietary funds.

Gimenez quickly reversed those Alvarez raises. We rate this Promise Kept.

Our Sources

Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman October 10, 2011

Carlos Gimenez cuts non-union paychecks and seeks union concessions

To trim expenses at Miami-Dade County Hall, Mayor Carlos Gimenez vowed to pull out his scissors and cut workers' paychecks.


"We must take back the raises that Carlos Alvarez gave," he said shortly before he was elected in June 2011. "With more than 70 percent of the county's operating budget comprised of salaries and benefits, this budget can't be balanced otherwise.”


While the private sector faced unemployment and financial woes, Alvarez pushed through a budget in 2010 that included raises for most workers for a total of about $132 million in salary hikes and bonuses. The pay raises, coupled with a tax rate hike, fueled Alvarez's March 2011 recall.


Gimenez, a former county commissioner who voted against the 2010 tax hike, set to work reversing Alvarez's pay increases immediately.


As he was sworn into office July 1Gimenez sent a memo to the Police Benevolent Association asking that its members "voluntarily forgo the 3 percent cost of living adjustment scheduled for July 1, and voluntarily suspend merit increases, longevity bonuses, flex benefits and premium pay for an additional 12 months." The other unions received similar letters asking them to agree to forgo 3 percent cost of living increases and 4 percent raises scheduled to take effect July 1.


About 90 percent of the nearly 27,000-employee county workforce is in one of 10 unions and all of the contracts expire Sept. 30. 


County commissioners approved the annual budget Sept. 23, which assumes that the unions will agree to concessions but they haven't reached agreement so far. The union concessions, coupled with pay cuts for non-union workers, total about $239 million in potential savings.


Gimenez has warned that additional layoffs could occur if agreements aren't reached by Nov. 1. (The budget approved by commissioners Sept. 23 eliminates 1,139 positions including about 500 vacant and 639 filled.)


Gimenez has achieved reducing salaries for about 2,000 non-union workers. (One piece of this was proposed before Gimenez won his mayoral election: On April 29, 2011, county manager Alina Hudak proposed not implementing a 3 percent cost of living adjustment for non-union workersCommissioners approved that May 17.


In July, Gimenez proposed increasing the health insurance contribution of non-union workers from 5 percent to 10 percent and freezing merit, longevity, premium and flex pay for non-union workers. But the county's benefits adviser warned that the health insurance increase could conflict with federal tax law so Gimenez changed his proposal to an 8 percent salary cut. Paychecks for non-union workers were reduced starting in July, county spokeswoman Suzy Trutie said.


Gimenez also promised to cut his own salary and benefits by 50 percent -- we gave the mayor a Promise Kept on that promise after he reduced his compensation from $310,000 to $160,000 when he took office.


Gimenez has already reduced the paychecks of non-union workers and his own paycheck. But the bulk of the savings will come from reducing union workers' paychecks and that battle will continue to play itself out in October. We rate this promise In the Works.

Our Sources

PolitiFact, "Cut the mayor's salary and benefits," July 29, 2011


CBS4, "Gimenez: Cut taxes, wasteful spending as mayor," June 22, 2011


Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, "Non-bargaining unit employee contribution memo," July 11, 2011


Miami-Dade Mayor Elect Carlos Gimenez, "Memo to the Police Benevolent Association," June 30, 2011


Miami-Dade County Manager Alina Hudak, "Salary for non-bargaining unit employees under mayor's purview memo," April 29, 2011


Miami-Dade County Commission, Meeting minutes, May 17, 2011


Miami Herald"Gimenez takes oath, then requests union pay cuts," July 1, 2011


Miami Herald"Dade budget ax spares perks, pay hikes, mayor's BMW, SUVs," Sept. 12, 2010

Interview, Suzy Trutie, Miami-Dade County spokeswoman, Oct. 7, 2011

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