Hialeah Mayor Gets Big Salary Cut

Commission votes to drop salary from $265,000 to $190,000

Hialeah City Commissioners voted to cut the mayor's salary Tuesday night, cutting the bloated salary by tens of thousands of dollars.

The mayor's salary will go from the highest in Florida, depending on how you measure it, at $265,000, to $190,000, which includes a $40,000 expense account.

But Hialeah will continue to be among the only cities that does not require its mayor to account for the expenses. Indeed, he can keep the expense account or spend it as he sees fit.

"I think the public has spoken very clearly with these excessive salaries in the public sector," said Hialeah’s new mayor, Carlos Hernandez, who was appointed to fill the term of Julio Robaina who ran for Miami-Dade Mayor.

Robaina took criticism for his high salary during his failed campaign for county mayor. But the new mayor said the criticism was not a factor, and that Tuesday’s vote was not political.

"We should not be professional politicians,” he said, “looking for long, long careers with benefits and retirement, etc."

Former mayor Raul Martinez attended Tuesday's commission meeting and had it out with the new mayor in a testy back and forth argument over city cash flow that descended into testy political jabs.

It was Martinez who, during 24 years ruling as mayor of Hialeah, saw his salary go from well under $100,000 to more than a quarter million dollars. And he says he was worth every penny because he did all the city’s lobbying (which now costs more than $100,000 to lobbyists) and performed the city manager’s role, and brought in major spending projects under budget.

And Martinez thinks good mayors deserve good salaries.

"They might be worth it if they produce," Martinez said afterward. “If the mayor is worth it, then why do you want to be cutting back?”

The vote was unanimous and, as a charter change, must be approved by voters in November’s scheduled vote.

Here's a quick look at the salaries – without expense accounts - of some mayors:

  • Hialeah: $150,000
  • Miami: $97,000
  • Plantation: $117,000
  • Miami-Dade County: $230,000
  • Orlando: $138,000
  • Los Angeles: $196,000
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