Members of the Miami Police Union gave the green light to seek a recall vote of Mayor Tomas Regalado Tuesday by an overwhelming margin.
Angered by unfilled positions, salary cuts, and what they say is financial mismanagement, members of Miami's Fraternal Order of Police voted on Tuesday to spearhead a campaign to recall Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.
Regalado responded in a statement Tuesday evening, saying he was "doing all I can to move Miami forward, and at the same time, respect everyone."
"The goal of this administration is to balance the budget, get the city's fiscal house in order and create jobs without raising taxes," the statement read. "That is what taxpayers asked me to do, and that is what I am doing."
Only 16 votes were cast against the motion, with 432 in favor. Union officials collected votes from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., revealing the decision late Tuesday afternoon.
Last week, Miami's FOP president Armando Aguilar sent a letter blasting Regalado, claiming the mayor has sent the city into "financial chaos."
On Tuesday, Aguilar said he felt Miami voters would side with police.
"There's been total mismanagement of funds and total irresponsibility on the mayor's part. He's been hiring people who are not qualified to do the job as part of what I call his friends and family plan and I think the voters are frustrated," he said. "I think the voters have had enough of it."
Also last week, Regalado sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate his own police force.
Over the past couple of years there have been salary cuts to police and fire departments. In the mayor's proposed 2012 budget, Regalado suggests keeping open nearly 400 vacant city positions, including more than 60 in the police department. That's on top of a proposed 22-day mandatory furlough for all city employees.
Regalado has suggested furloughs and unfilled positions would save the city close to $30 million. But he says it's only a proposal and that it could all change as city leaders work to find other ways to make cuts.
"The people of Miami understand that times are difficult and revenue is scarce," he said in the statement, citing jobs being created by two upcoming construction projects in Brickell as signs of economic progress.
Meanwhile, it was announced Monday that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating Regalado for contributions made to his 2009 campaign.
Regalado is being investigated for the $8,000 he reportedly received in contributions from people and businesses in the Dominican Republic, which is illegal under election law, according to the Miami Herald.
The mayor said he thought the contributions were legal at the time, and said he's received nothing from the FDLE about the investigation.
Regalado told the Herald he'd do whatever was necessary to correct the situation, even returning the $8,000, which was just a fraction of the $850,000 raised by his campaign.