Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Miami-Dade County shell game continues [Part II]

Yesterday, in a very public, emotionally-charged meeting at County Hall...
A divided Miami-Dade Commission reached a contentious compromise on Tuesday to save the jobs of hundreds of county workers who would otherwise have received pink slips.

By a 7-6 vote, commissioners imposed a controversial concession they had rejected earlier this month — but only after making it slightly smaller and agreeing to raid a trust fund that pays for employee healthcare claims.

Instead of requiring employees to contribute an additional 5 percent of their base pay toward health insurance, the county will force them to contribute 4 percent, bringing their total contribution to 9 percent.

To make up the difference, Miami-Dade will take $10 million from the approximately $90-million reserve fund that pays employee health-insurance claims.

Following the commission decision, Mayor Carlos Gimenez said his administration would rescind layoff notices sent over the past two weeks to 118 police officers, 17 corrections employees and at least 68 professionals and supervisors. The layoffs would have been effective Feb. 3.
But, behind the scenes, far removed from the cameras, bright lights and microphones, it appears to be business as usual.

Consider this email I received today:
Subject: Gimenez Department Reorganization Simply Added a New Layer of Bureaucracy‏

During the meetings about the union contracts, you probably heard several of the commissioners questioning Mayor Gimenez about the savings that should have been realized by the reduction in County departments. The attached announcement [see memo below] demonstrates how Gimenez simply added another layer of bureaucracy with his so-called department reduction and reorganization and did not cut any costs.

Before the Sept. 2011 reorganization, there were three separate departments called Human Resources (HR), General Services Administration (GSA), and Procurement Management (DPM). Their respective department directors were Mary Lou Rizzo, Wendi Norris, and Miriam Singer.

When Gimenez announced that number of departments would be reduced, he placed HR, GSA, and DPM under one department named “Internal Services.” He moved his hack-buddy Lester Sola from the Elections Department over to head the new department without a job posting, competitive interviews, etc.

You would think that would mean Rizzo, Norris, and Singer would be shown the door along with their assistants, their secretaries, etc. Instead, as you can see in the announcement, three new Assistant Director of Internal Services positions were created for them. In typical county fashion, Rizzo, Norris, and Singer were appointed to the new positions this month without job postings, competitive interviews, etc. It is my understanding that their salaries were not lowered and that their assistants and secretaries are still with them.

So, if you worked in the HR, GSA, or DPM departments, the only thing different for you now is that you have a new person, Lester Sola, in your chain of command. You still answer to Rizzo, Norris, or Singer. The bureaucracy actually INCREASED with the reduction in departments.

I know you supported Gimenez. I worked VERY hard to elect him, and I am so disappointed by his failure to reform the County administration. I am unaware of Gimenez firing ANYONE from the Alvarez administration (which is amazing to me). He actually made it clear that anyone who did leave (e.g., Sara Pizano at Animal Services, Karls Paul-Noel at Fire Rescue) was not fired or forced out.

Gimenez kept all of the Burgess/Alvarez cronies, and his department reorganization/reduction was a hoax.
(Click here and here to read earlier posts on this subject.)

Sola Appointments ISD


  1. This so called reorganization has caused everyone who knows Gimenez to hate his guts. No department director who was downgraded should be receiving his or her same salary/benefits/retirement package. They should have been fired because that is what employees & taxpayers wanted. Employees should know because they work with these losers. It is a shell game/scam and is meant to protect the useless administrators who abuse the rules to get ahead. Lester Sola has worked with all of these people so he is protecting them. He needs them because he does not have the expertise to run the consolidated department. These jobs should have been advertised so we can get true leaders with the experience to lead these new departments instead of cronies. gimenez is playing the same shuffling of friends that Burgess/Alvarez did.

  2. Here's another example of the wonderful re-organization of departments. DHS, CAA, and Equal Rights/Employment Practices were consolidated into Community Action & Human Services Dept. The Director of Equal Rights (Lucia Raiford-Davis) was named director, while Phyllis Tynes-Saunders (DHS) and the CAA director are now assistant directors. All of their management staff and support staff are still in place with their $100,000 plus per year salaries. In the mean time, professional and clerical employees were bumped down with huge salary reductions or laid off.

  3. All of the Burgess/Alvarez cronies are now Gimenez cronies. Gimenez has reappointed every last one of them to new positions at the same outrageous salaries. And every appointment was conducted without a job advertisement or a competitive recruitment, something known in the HR business as a “worst practice.”

    If you want the cronies out of Miami-Dade County government, your only option is to hold your nose and vote for Joe Martinez.

    1. Joe Martinez is in favor of pushing the development boundary west for any paying special interest. He also knows how to get discounted land deals and free contracting for his personal property from developers. Not to mention county positions for friends and family. Beware of this guy.


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