Miami-Dade Commissioners Pass Budget, Help Selves, Screw Cops

Miami-Dade commissioners, in one of those crazy late night donnybrooks, passed a $6 billion budget Friday morning, but kept their cozy office deals and proposed to cut back on cops and other public employee salaries.

That is what I call hypocrisy.

According to this morning's Herald story, the commissioners held onto a provision that has allowed them $814,000 per year in office expenses that accumulates. They ain't giving the money back. Instead, Commish Pepe Diaz will spend $35,000 for a Christmas luncheon among other things. They will all hang onto expensive employees while cutting back in other quarters.

The commissioners, who met until 3 p.m. pulled back on raises granted by former Mayor Carlos Alvarez, but sidestepped the matter of dealing with all union contracts. Sure, Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced one union deal before the meeting. But the rest will not be so easy. Negotiations over cutbacks at the police department promise to be particularly bruising. The cops came to the hearing wearing T-shirts that read "We Fight What You Fear."

Commissioners also slice departments from about 40 to 25, but this is window dressing.

In the end, Gimenez still has a long hill to climb. Except for the very expensive employees he has hired -- can you say $225,000 for a friggin assistant -- you have to give the guy credit for pushing his budget through.

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