Miami-Dade County may try Plan B, not cut pay
By Risa Polansky
With union contracts outstanding and a budget hole widening, Miami-Dade is drafting a Plan B.
Planned salary and benefits cuts total about $200 million of the reported $444 million slashed to balance the 2010 budget.
But, without union agreements, the county can't do much of the cutting.
"You have huge deficits that are accumulating until that's resolved," County Manager George Burgess reminded commissioners Tuesday.
In the meantime, Carlos Gimenez wants an alternative.
"I'd like for you to assume this commission is not going to impose any kind of benefit cut or salary cut on anyone," he told Mr. Burgess, asking for another plan to balance the budget. "The longer you wait, the more people you're going to have to lay off."
Replied Mr. Burgess: "Great minds. Yes, we are doing thatů We're not going to be waiting and will be proceeding with a plan."
But, other than "soon," the manager didn't say when.
"Soon is relative," Mr. Gimenez said, pressing for the plan in short order because "I'm not sure this commission will impose anything on anybody."
When asked in an interview what kind of alternatives staff is considering, budget chief Jennifer Glazer-Moon also would only say "soon."
She said she didn't know by press time how much the deficit is growing with cuts up in the air. That number was $8 million every two-week pay period before Mayor Carlos Alvarez made a dent late last month, cutting pay 5% for the non-union employees he oversees.
The commission voted to give three unions either a 5% pay cut or the equivalent in holiday pay, but the unions have yet to vote.
If they ratify, the county could set three-year contracts and move ahead with cuts. If not, commissioners' cuts would stand as of the day they approved them, Oct. 26, but only for a year.