Looming layoffs at the Miami-Dade Police Department became a little more real Tuesday when the department notified hundreds of staff that their jobs are on the verge of extinction.
According to president of the PBA John Rivera, at least 250 sworn officers are on the list.
"Some 69 sergeants, 19 lieutenants. And if they continue on the path that they’re gonna go; it’s gonna be a huge hit to our PD that’s already working shorthanded," Rivera said.
If the cuts happen the PBA said officers won’t be able to do their jobs and resident wait times will surge.
"Right now, on certain crimes it’s taking us 3-4 hours to respond to calls. If you take another percentage, 20% out, people need to understand they’re gonna wait a long time for police service," Rivera said.
The pink slips loom as Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez tries to balance next year’s budget and fill a $64 million gap without raising taxes.
"I’ve heard the residents call for us to stretch every public dollar and to live within our means. In response, this budget continues to hold the line on taxes,” Mayor Carlos Gimenez told the county commission recently.
Current negotiations have stalled, but the fighting between Gimenez and Rivera hasn’t. Gimenez wants officers to give up some pay and benefits. Rivera said they gave up plenty with the currrent contract
"Every week I say morale can’t get any lower and man I’m proven on,” Rivera said. “Morale is so bad in our department, there’s officers that don’t even want to show up to work."
"...the leadership of the PBA has refused to sit down with our administration to resolve these very serious budgetary issues. The biggest obstacle to a resolution is PBA president John Rivera who refuses to meet with us," a statement from the Mayor's office read.
"If he puts Mickey Mouse there to negotiate with us, we’ll negotiate; we’re ready to go," Rivera said.
A meeting is scheduled for next week to tell officers and staff how everything will go down if it happens.