Miami-Dade Police and Mayor Carlos Gimenez are at it again, as the mayor's fight against a tax increase could mean layoffs for the department.
Gimenez is dead-set against any tax increases while the police union, headed by the bombastic John Rivera, is gearing for a budget battle in hopes of saving up to 450 public safety workers' jobs and trying to reclaim a 5 percent salary increase given up two years ago.
"He does not have a clue," Rivera told NBC 6 South Florida, while discussing Gimenez’s moves to make the police department more efficient by, for example, moving desk assigned cops into the patrol units.
Gimenez says his top priority is public safety. But he is also adamant about not raising taxes.
There is a $100 million shortfall in the county’s proposed 2014-2015 $6 billion budget. The initial numbers crunched by the County Administration suggests that $65 million come from reductions in staff, assuming that the Police Benevolent Association will not consent to a give back of a 5 percent salary increase which goes into effect before the end of this year.
Among the positions on the chopping block are 5 positions in the gang unit, 17 officers in the Special Victims Bureau, and 22 officers and detectives in the robbery bureau.
Officers are quick to say they are short personnel in many departments and the rate of case closures is dropping.
Negotiations are tedious and often go line by line, and they can drag on for weeks until exhausted bureaucrats and union reps hammer out a deal that usually pleases neither side.
The County and the Police Benevolent Association will be at the bargaining table Monday morning.