At least a dozen Miami Dade Transit employees – on county time — are actively campaigning on behalf of Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Natacha Seijas, the CBS4 I-Team Investigator Jim DeFede has learned.
CBS4 News found several of the employees, members of Transport Workers Union Local 291, at an early voting site in North Dade Tuesday morning.
“I’m going to be out here everyday,” said Shadel Hamilton, a bus driver for 21 years. “We are out here trying to inform people, trying to educate people."
The Herald adds more detail to the story:
Facing a recall vote and an ongoing budget crunch, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez’s administration has excused 12 county transit employees from their regular jobs to participate full time — while still collecting their salaries — in a loosely defined committee tasked with informing workers about the current political upheaval and controversial budget that triggered the recall campaign.So why is the mayor so desperate to save his job?
Mayoral spokeswoman Victoria Mallette did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday. County Manager George Burgess, Alvarez’s top administrator, said last week that he was aware the 12 employees are not on regular duty, but said he didn’t know enough to speak in any detail about it. .
A Jan. 27 email reviewed by The Miami Herald said the Miami-Dade Transit employees are “being released on special assignment to the Transportation Worker’s Union” in an effort “to enhance communication among MDT’s 2,000+ operational employees.”
The TWU, one of Alvarez’s biggest financial backers, contributed $20,000 on Dec. 27 to the mayor’s political action committee, Citizens for Truth, which is focusing on defeating the March 15 recall election. The donation followed a Dec. 10 meeting between Alvarez and TWU leadership, according to the county executive office sign-in log.
Perhaps part of the answer is in this video: