Alvarez Orders Restrictions On County Hiring
Written by Wayne Tompkins on May 31, 2007
By Wayne Tompkins
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez on Tuesday ordered strict hiring restrictions for county positions as the government prepares for lower revenues resulting from property-tax reform.
The measure stops short of an outright hiring freeze but directs County Manager George Burgess to approve all new hires. Mr. Burgess said he plans to limit hires to position that save lives or perform other crucial functions "or something that saves us money."
Ultimately, the mandate is designed to have a "chilling effect" on department heads who try to push through new hires. The county employs 30,000.
The memo also orders department heads to "aggressively control hiring" and make "every effort" to immediately reduce overtime and capital spending.
State legislators failed to agree on a plan to lower property taxes in this spring’s legislative session. They will take another shot at the issue during a special session scheduled to begin June 12.
The move comes as lawmakers in Tallahassee and Miami-Dade have struggled to trim soaring property tax rolls that have placed increasing financial burdens on residents.
The county also has reduced its millage rates and introduced new efficiencies, Mr. Alvarez said. The county also recently doubled the homestead exemption for low-income homeowners age 65 and older.
"While we may continue to advertise for positions … not all of these will necessarily result in hiring," Mr. Alvarez said. "While these reductions may be uncomfortable, they are necessary for our community."
The county’s Office of Strategic Business Management, which approves all hiring, has already slowed the filling of positions during the past few months to save money, the mayor said.
The new measure, Mr. Burgess said, is a way to "tighten the grip" on all county hiring.