The Dumping Ground

When family members or cronies need a job, Dade county politicians drop them off at the airport

Part of that frustration is to be expected, Dellapa says. For a long time the airport was run by people whose entire careers revolved around the aviation industry. "Airport people think that only people who have been doing this their entire lives should be allowed to work at the airport," he says. "But running an airport is not unlike running any major organization. Of all the departments in the county right now, we are still economically growing, which also means we are growing the most in terms of creating new positions. That opens up opportunities to relocate county employees out here."

The department's critics, however, say their concerns shouldn't be dismissed so lightly. They charge that every time a new position is created and given to someone politically connected at county hall -- without even the pretense of allowing anyone else to apply and be considered -- a message is sent that advancement is not based on how hard a person works, but rather on whom a person knows downtown. "That is why the morale of people who work at the airport and who care about the airport is really down right now," says an aviation official. "If this is going to continue, we are going to become like the City of Miami, politically corrupt and financially bankrupt.

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