If the Miami-Dade County Commission was a third grade classroom -- and in terms of maturity it often resembles one -- Dennis Moss would get a gold star sticker on his sweater. Sally Heyman would flunk.
This year, Heyman, who oversees the sprawling northeast corner of Miami-Dade, had by far the worst attendance record of the 13 commissioners. She missed 26 percent of the year's meetings -- but says she has a doctor's note.
Out of 65 commission meetings, she had 12 unexcused and five excused absences. Both figures are more than any of her colleagues. She was also late three times, putting her at a tie for last in the class.
In a statement released through her office manager, Heyman blamed a broken ankle dating back to April 15. The poor lady has physical therapy three times a week. "Also," she added, "my orthopedic surgeon only has clinics on Tuesdays, same as Commission meeting days... I pride myself on my work ethic."
Heyman racked up six of the absences before April 15.
County commissioners make a nominal salary of $6,000 a year, plus benefits and allowances worth about another $34,000. Heyman, who owns several businesses, including a coffee truck, is among the commissioners who has loudly lobbied for a pay raise to $92,000. Her main argument: The position is full-time and should be compensated as such.
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With all due compassion to Heyman's injuries, it must be pondered: Would any employee in the private sector keep her job while skipping one of every four work days?
When Riptide suggested that Heyman, who's in her ninth year on the commission, might consider resignation, her office manager Maria Ferreiro hastily interjected: "No! She does her job. Why would she quit?"
As for Heyman's colleagues, Moss was the only commissioner with a perfect attendance record through the full year. Rounding out the podium of absentee commissioners were Bruno A. Barreiro, who had 11 unexcused absences and three latenesses, and Javier Souto, who had ten unexcused absences and three latenesses. No word on what their ailments were.