Miami-Dade Police debating layoffs
MIAMI (WSVN) -- Hundreds of men and women on the Miami-Dade Police force could be on the verge of getting pink slips.
Their jobs are in jeopardy because the mayor and county commission cannot reach an agreement. Tuesday, police officers gathered at the Miami-Dade Commission chambers at the Stephen P. Clark Center in downtown Miami to meet with elected officials, including the mayor.
The discussion started just after 12 noon, and the Police Benevolent Association was the first to the podium. The PBA spokesperson noted the irony of today being the day that many of these police officers, along with many across the US, gathered in downtown Miami to remember two Miami-Dade officers who lost their lives while on duty.
Now police have gathered to show solidarity for their livelihoods, as, for the first time in the history of the Miami-Dade Police Department, police officers could face layoffs. Besides layoffs, another option for police to help balance the county budget, includes an additional five percent contribution to their health care coverage.
The Police Benevolent Association has argued it has already given concessions to help balance the budget, and it should be enough. However, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez still needs to fill in a $65 million shortfall. He proposed the additional five percent contribution into health care plans for not only police but other county employees.
The police union has argued that they prefer layoffs to the additional contribution to their health care coverage. Commissioners voted to approve that solution last week, and pink slips already began going out, but now the parties have returned to the bargaining table to see what solution can be reached.
At the meeting, Gimenez said, "We need the five percent impasse, we need the $65 million to balance the budget. The actions of the commission in the last commission meeting when they decided to propose a zero, left us with no choice but to layoff and issue layoff notices to a number of people."
Miami-Dade Police Director James Loftus commented ahead of the meeting, "No matter what happens in here today, it's not going to be a happy decision. The five percent comes back in, folks won't be happy. If there's layoffs, folks won't be happy. If there's some type of hybrid, folks won't be happy. So regardless of what happens, it's my job to take what's remaining as a police department, pump the morale and get people out there to do what they are supposed to do."
The debate is expected to last throughout the day, but it remains unknown if a final decision will be made.
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