When you are use to working with a government that has been known for such a long time as a “Government with an abundance of “Milk and Honey” it’s hard to conceptually accept that the government is now waiting along with many others in the food bank line.
Naturally, the employees of Miami-Dade County expect Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Board of County Commissioners and the Union Representatives to “pull the rabbit out of the hat” and make this nightmare go away. Unfortunately, this is not a dream and the nightmare is just beginning.
When the public think of government, they view it as the last safety net from the realities of a failed economy. They somehow can’t perceive a government that’s teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. What? The government can’t meet its responsibilities? How can that possibility be?
But it can’t meet its responsibilities! Because of the negative financial climate that’s not just in Miami-Dade County but virtually all the counties across this great land called the United States. It is a clear sign of the times and it’s not the exception to the rule but rather the rule. It is for all intense and purpose. “Our new reality and we must come to terms with it.
In the land of milk and honey, the honey has dried up and county government is left to take the milk and stretch it as far as humanely possible, with limits of course. Thus, the issue of the budget becomes a real reality, while consistently providing for 30,000+ employees with the monies that can only stretch to 25,000 employees.
Just as the real estate market begins to correct itself, so too must the government take corrective measures to correct its finances to maintain good fiscal health. It is not reality to maintain a workforce that was put in place to provide services for 25 individual cities, when 10 of the cities have decided to separate themselves from the county and start their own independent government.
As each city pulled away from the county; the county should have restructured its workforce but they didn’t and as more and more cities decided to incorporate, Miami-Dade County took a big hit financially, but failed to make the necessary corrections to its workforce.
Unfortunately, it’s time to make that painful and necessary correction. Miami-Dade County can no longer support its current workforce and must find a way to bring itself out of the red and back into the black.
Just about everyone has heard the expression, “You can’t squeeze blood out of turnips,” that’s a true expression. You can’t threaten to take the county to court for being broke!
Would you prefer that the county keep all the employees if their salaries were rolled back to minimum wages? That’s what former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger did when he realized that the federal government could not offer his state any assistance. Does that idea appeal to you? No! I thought not!
If you were Mayor of Miami-Dade County or the County Commissioners what would you do to solve the astronomical deficit that the county finds itself in?
“Don’t be part of the problem; rather be part of the solution!”
I will make an attempt to be the voice of reason as it relates to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, The Board of County Commissioners and the prospective union leaders and its workers, approximately 30,000+ strong.
Time is of the essence so let’s cut through the chase and present the data and prayerfully the Lord will give you the wisdom, understanding and revelation to look beyond the immediate to the long term and determine if 5% less is worth possibility losing 100% of your paycheck.
According to “The Bureau of Statistics, Florida increased their workload by 98,100 over the course of 12 months from [11/2010-11/2011, yet the unemployment ratio was 11.9 in 10/2010 and 10.00 in 11/2011 or -1.9, down .4 since 10/2011.
Florida stats show the number of people employed from November 2010 – November 2011, to be 7,183,600 & 7,281,700, respectfully, an increase of 98,100.
According to “ Find the Data , as of May 2011, the number of people in the labor force were 1,323,042; the number of Unemployed in Miami-Dade were 180,993 and the number employed in Miami-Dade were 1,142.049.
If you are fortunate enough to land a government position, it is common knowledge that chances are, greater than not, you can work within the administration until you retire, as long as the rest of the county or state remains fiscally sound.
Each year, every employee is painfully aware of budget time as the standard rumors began to swirl. Example: The administration is putting together a list to be presented to the director and subsequently, approved by the designated administrators. In past years, the county would always find monies to balance the budget and everyone is safe for another year.
But that scenario changed a few years ago and unfortunately, there will not be a bailout for Miami-Dade County and its employees this year. The county is broke, operating in the red. In the world of business that constitutes only two options, “declare a state of emergency” or “bankruptcy”. Case in point: Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor of California declared a ‘State of Emergency” when he found himself in an impossible numbers game.
Unfortunately, due to the economy and its slow job growth and massive foreclosure numbers, the monies once generated by these entities no longer exist. Because of the dire situation that Miami-Dade County finds itself in, they can no longer support its present employee base, some 30,000 strong and must find a way to balance its budget, which includes making some painful cuts in the process.
Should employee cuts become inevitable, formulating the list of displaced employees, (the politically correct term for being fired) is not an easy task, as almost all employees are protected by a union; unless they fall under the “exempt category” whereby the county will remind them that their employment is at the mercy of their employer, who is not obligated to have a reason for their termination other than “tag, you’re it” and as they proceed to ceremoniously hand you the coveted letter, listing “budget constraints” as the reason and/or remind you that you reside in a “”employment at will” state.
Thus the pecking or bumping system is put into place to determine, who can bump whom. The politics kick into high gear and the employees that are close to someone in authority over their superior start calling in their favors and the race began.
If you are without an umbrella and haven’t marched to the beat of their drums and you didn’t socialize outside of the building with higher ups, chances are, and you will surely be on the list. In past years, the budget rumors would reach its peak and dissipate without much fanfare and everyone would collectively breathe a sigh of relief and go about their business until next fiscal year.
In 2012, everyone from the janitor to the Chief Judge will have to learn how to constantly “think outside the box.” There are no hidden dollars waiting to be discovered. The Federal Government is not coming to Miami-Dade on a white horse and colorful cape to bail Dade County out.
The top administrators and its superiors will have to find common ground or I foresee, not hundreds but thousands of employees getting pink slips in the near future.
Best Regards to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, The Board of County Commissioners, The Union Representatives as well as all the employees of Miami-Dade County. Dade County finds itself at a crossroads. Which will you take: The familiar path or the road less taken?
“Happy trials to you . . . until we meet again!”
A balanced city or county budget is required by law; however, sometimes it seems that the city and county unions take it personally. “There is no money in the budget!” for continued perks and the massive employee roll at the same time!
Remember when then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, on July 3, 2010 ordered The State Controller, John Chiang to roll all the state employees wages back to minimum wage, whereby the Controller refused and the order was immediately taken to court and the ruling was upheld by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, saying that “The DPA has the authority to direct the controller to defer salary payments in excess of federally mandated minimum wages when appropriations for the salaries are lacking due to a budget impasse. “There is no money in the budget!
Perhaps the county’s legal team could research and determine what is and isn’t legal in the case of a budget impasse. One thing is for sure! You can’t expect to continue to receive the “special perks” and “keep all the employees” at the same time. Something or someone has to be eliminated. There is no money in the budget!
It was once said by a psychologist that you have to repeat something seven times before it begins to penetrate the human physic. So, let’s try it again. “There is no money in the budget!”
The “General Funds Account” aka “Slush Funds” has gone fishing and will not return any time in the foreseeable future due to lack of funds. “There is no money in the budget!”
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s proposed budget will be formally taken up and voted on by the commissioners in two commission meetings next month. The mayor needs to plug a $400 million budget gap and is relying heavily on the unions to meet him halfway. Keep in mind, “There is no money in the budget!” and no money coming to fill the gap!
The ball is currently in the union’s court, and they have until Nov.1 to voluntarily come up with a game-plan. After Nov.1, the unions will technically forfeit their right to negotiate and whatever the commissioners and mayor decides will become law. Remember, once again! “There is no money in the budget!”
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