Amid searing criticism from the Miami-Dade County police union for a budget that had slated layoffs for nearly a quarter of its force, County Mayor Carlos Gimenez proposed a revised plan last night that would see the number of layoffs reduced by half, with a chunk of the savings coming at the expense of the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).
"My administration has spent most of this summer trying to save as many jobs as possible," Gimenez said at a County meeting last night, the Miami Herald reported. "We have made significant strides."
The new plan would call for 110 County police officer layoffs, down from 228, the Herald reports; it would also cancel the proposed $1.5 million in additional funding for PAMM that would have come from hotel taxes.
The proposed budget would still force numerous layoffs of county employees and reduced services, although all police layoffs could be avoided, the mayor's budget director said, if unions agreed to a new -- more expensive -- healthcare plan for county workers.
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"I think these are all P.R. numbers at the moment,'' Terry Murphy, a consultant for the unions, told the Herald. "I'm a little skeptical."
Prior to yesterday's meeting, John Rivera, the county police union president, told Riptide that numerous police agencies had reached out to his officers offering jobs in light of the expected layoffs, which he called "insane."
"We know he's crazy," Rivera said of the mayor, "but up to what level is what we don't know."