Miami-Dade Commissioners voted 7-6 late Tuesday afternoon to approve a healthcare deal that will take $10 million out of a health trust plan, combine it with an additional 4 percent contribution by police officers towards their healthcare, and avert layoffs.
That will prevent the layoffs of 118 Miami-Dade police officers and 17 corrections officers from going into effect in February.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has sought to require the Dade County Police Benevolent Association’s members to contribute an additional 5 percent towards their healthcare. The county commission voted 7-6 earlier this month to defeat that move, but Gimenez vetoed their vote and laid off 118 police officers, demoted 41 others, and laid off the smaller number of corrections officers.
Now Gimenez and a majority of the commission agree, but many police officers expressed disappointment Tuesday, and PBA President John Rivera promised that the whole thing will go to court.
“We are ramping up our legal team as we speak,” Rivera said. The PBA already has filed numerous legal challenges to the layoffs.
Tuesday's proposal was pushed forward by Commissioner Barbara Jordan. Officers currently contribute 5 percent of their pay towards their healthcare and that would increase to 9 percent under her plan.
Before Tuesday's meeting, Commission Chairman Joe Martinez was expected to propose a plan that would have avoided Gimenez's 5 percent requirement, and instead ask for a 2.5 percent contribution and $30 million in cuts from other areas of the budget, according to the Miami Herald. Gimenez has said there is currently a $35 million budget gap.
Gimenez has said it's too late to find savings elsewhere, but the PBA won't budge, saying they gave up millions of dollars in concessions when they ratified contracts in December.
After Tuesday's meeting, Miami-Dade Police Director James Loftus said the agreement gives his department a little breathing room.