Under fire for delivering double-digit raises to his closest advisers during a budget crisis, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez has defended himself by saying the perks were part of a broader staff reorganization that eliminated jobs and saved money.
But many of the executives whose jobs disappeared are still working for the county, in some cases at higher salaries -- raising questions about how much the cutbacks have saved taxpayers.
For example, the mayor said the 54 percent raise he gave in 2008 to his $125,000 per year director of communications, Victoria Mallette , was a bargain because she replaced two other executives. -from an Aug. 30, 2009 Miami Herald story headlined, "Downsized Dade execs still make big bucks," by Jack Dolan and Matthew Haggman
"Mallette along with her staff, coordinate and advance the Mayor's public appearances; liaison with local, national and international media to focus attention on the Mayor's agenda and accomplishments; and develop public relations strategies to advance the Mayor's programs and initiatives.
"Mallette serves as the Mayor's chief spokesperson and is a key advisor to the Mayor on complex, sensitive or controversial matters of public information and media relations." -job description taken from Miami-Dade County website for Victoria L. Mallette, who was at the time, communications director for then Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Alvarez
"When asked to name [Carlos Alvarez's] biggest accomplishment, fully 80 percent of poll respondents said there were none or couldn’t think of any." -from a March 5, 2011 Miami Herald story on a poll conducted prior to the March 15 recall electionWhen Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Alvarez was recalled by voters last March 15, things started moving pretty quickly.
Alvarez's ouster was followed by the resignation of County Manager George Burgess.
Much of the conversation at County Hall in the days following March 15 was centered around what would happen to the mayor's staff.
Two weeks later, on March 29, newly-appointed county manager Alina Hudak answered those questions with a re-shuffling of the executive staff.
Some of Alvarez's staffers were re-assigned to other departments and Hudak's memo stated that some of those would receive a lay-off notice on April 27.
So, where are they now?
How many of the dozen or so members of Alvarez's staff scheduled to laid-off at the end of April, actually lost their jobs?
Remember, this Miami-Dade County where there's a long-standing practice of magically finding new jobs for those who have had their positions eliminated.
I recently learned that Victoria Mallette, the mayor's former director of communications, has been hired to a full-time position at the county's Office of Emergency Management. Mallete was one of those scheduled for lay-off April 27.
I went over Hudak's memo and compiled a list of other former Alvarez staffers - besides Mallette - who were slated for lay-off.
Last week I emailed Suzy Trutie, Assistant Director of Communications for Miami-Dade and requested an updated status of those who used to work for Mayor Carlos Alvarez.
For Mallette, I asked three questions. Here are those questions along with the answers I received last week.
1. What is [Mallette's] title at OEM? Emergency Management Governmental Coordinator.
2. What is her salary? $3,270 bi-weekly; $85,020 annually.
3. Was there a competitive recruitment process involved in her hiring? Yes. After the former coordinator left County service, the position was advertised for County employees only. Sixty seven County employees applied for the position.
Today, I received the information on the others who were scheduled for lay-off. Their new status is in bold-face caps.
Andino, Zaida, support specialist, office of the mayor who was re-assigned to a clerk position in the office of ADA Co-ordination. HAS ACCEPTED DEMOTION AS A LIBRARY ASSISTANT 1 WITH MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Auguste, Tracie, mayor's policy analyst who was temporarily assigned to the Department of Procurement Management. EXERCISED CIVIL SERVICE RIGHTS TO RISK MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST WITH MIAMI-DADE AVIATION DEPARTMENT
Gonzalez, Delvette, mayor's assistant/ scheduler. EXERCISED CIVIL SERVICE RIGHTS TO ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR WITH MIAMI-DADE POLICE DEPARTMENT
Herrera, Alicia, constituent affairs specialist, mayor's office. ACCEPTED DEMOTION AS A LIBRARY ASSISTANT 1 WITH MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Himmel, Christian, constituent affairs specialist, mayor's office. ACCEPTED DEMOTION AS A LIBRARY ASSISTANT 1 WITH MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Hurtado, Eduardo, constituent affairs specialist, mayor's office. RETIRED FROM COUNTY SERVICE EFFECTIVE APRIL 20, 20<11
Jean Baptiste, Carline, constituent affairs specialist, mayor's office. EXERCISED CIVIL SERVICE RIGHTS TO RECORDS SPECIALIST 1 WITH FINANCE DEPARTMENT
Perez, Mercedes, constituent affairs specialist. LAID OFF FROM COUNTY SERVICE
Pierre, Nadia, constituent affairs specialist, mayor's office. EXERCISED CLASSIFIED SERVICES RIGHTS TO MIAMI-DADE POLICE AS A POLICE CRIME ANALYSIS SPECIALIST 1 WITH MIAMI-DADE POLICE
Riera Gomez, Timothy, policy analyst, mayor's office. USING FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA) LEAVE UNTIL JUNE 13, 2011
Rodriguez, Mercedes, policy analyst, mayor's office. SUPPORT TO VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS AND BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSION COMMITTEES ASSIGNED TO SENIOR STAFF
Villar, Robert, director of policy and legislative affairs, mayor's office. ACCEPTED DEMOTION AS AN ACCOUNTANT 4 WITH THE WATER AND SEWER DEPARTMENT