Miami-Dade Police Layoffs Begin
Pink slips were sent out to 118 Miami-Dade police officers on Friday, the latest move in a showdown between Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the Dade County Police Benevolent Association and the county commission.
Director James K. Loftus said in a letter Friday that he has "staff reduction letters" for sworn personnel on his desk, and they will be distributed during the day.
"In a Department with a history of dark and difficult days, this one is unique. Never before have so many of our finest left us under these circumstances," the letter said. "To everyone impacted by this layoff, my heart goes out to you. My family and I will keep you in our prayers. To everyone in the Department, please continue to fight to keep your focus."
In a memo Friday night, Gimenez said there were 131 police positions eliminated and 41 demotions in the department. However, 13 of the 131 eliminated had "civil service rights to other positions within the county, resulting in 118 police officers being laid off."
Earlier Friday, John Rivera, the PBA president, told NBC Miami the numbers he had were: eight lieutenants would be demoted to sergeants, 33 sergeants would be demoted to officers and 98 officers would be laid off.
"Wow is all I can say right now," Rivera said. "These demotions are a violation of our contract."
Rivera added that by law, the county was supposed to provide the union with information about the layoffs, and he has not gotten anything.
He added that attorneys were preparing several contract violation claims.
"We are going to prevail ... At the end of the day it will cost the county more money," Rivera said.
On Wednesday, Gimenez vetoed a commission vote against requiring the union's members, as well as those another large county union, to kick in an additional 5 percent towards their healthcare in addition to the millions in concessions they have already made.
"The mayor said in his own statement and throughout said if it doesn't happen, there are going to be layoffs. There are now layoffs," said County Commissioner Sally Heyman.
Gimenez vetoed the decision, saying without the five percent contribution, nearly 300 cops and about 250 other county employees would have to be laid off to balance the budget.
In all 563 positions will be eliminated across all county departments, Gimenez said Friday night, including approximately 282 from the Government Supervisors Association of Florida's two local bargaining units. He said 150 positions were eliminated from the Corrections and Rehabilitation Department.