Written by Miami Today on October 15, 2009
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TOP DOG, TOP PAYCHECK: Miami-Dade’s top elected official is supposed to be a strong mayor — and should be paid that way, Commissioner Carlos Gimenez says. He’s proposing no county employee receive more annual pay than the mayor. Now, the county manager does, he said. "The mayor is supposed to be the head of the administration, and I don’t think anybody should be making more than the mayor unless there is some overriding reason to do that… He’s the strong mayor, he should be the person making the highest salary," he said. Should the legislation pass, it would allow the mayor to ask the commission should he want to pay someone more. The measure wouldn’t affect employees under contract now, meaning County Manager George Burgess is safe. It’s not about the person, Mr. Gimenez said — "it’s the position, and also [to] start to set a bar in terms of ceilings on salaries."
CUTS, TAKE TWO: He’s working also to set that bar with current staff. After a failed bid this month to cut pay for employees who aren’t covered by unions, Mr. Gimenez is to try again Tuesday. He’s proposing cutting 15.5% for non-union employees earning more than $250,000, 10.5% for those making $150,000 to $250,000, and 8% for those making $100,000 to $150,000. Last time he tried 15%, 10% and 7.5% cuts, but commissioners killed it in an 8-4 vote with no discussion, customary for initial votes. To bring the measure back, he had to tweak it. Union workers’ salaries rest on collective bargaining agreements — still unsettled at the county. Only 4,175 of the county’s 33,456 employees are non-union.
UNION CONTRACTS, TAKE THREE: County commissioners cut a purported $444 million to balance the fiscal 2010 budget — but nearly $200 million of those cuts aren’t final because of unresolved union pacts. Three of the county’s 10 unions were to come before the commission in September to resolve contracts but deferred to earlier this month, when they deferred again to a meeting set for Tuesday. The commission-approved $106 million in would-be wage cuts and tens of millions that would be saved by eliminating some benefits depends on settling the contracts.
AUGUST ADDS: Domestic passenger arrivals at Miami International Airport increased 3.7% in August from August 2008. Passenger arrivals rose 1.6% despite a 0.3% drop in international arrivals. Of 1.54 million arrivals 792,000, or about 51.5%, were international.