Florida City Manager Has Ability To Invoke ‘Financial Urgency’ Law

Florida has a “Financial Urgency” statute that allows a public employer to initiate an expedited meet-and-confer process over changes to a collective bargaining agreement. When Miami’s city manager declared a “financial urgency,” the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which represents the City’s police officers, sought a declaration from a trial court that under Florida law, only Miami’s City Commission (the equivalent of a city council) had the authority to declare a “financial urgency.”

The Florida Court of Appeals sided with the City, and dismissed the FOP’s request. The Court found that the contract between the FOP and the City was expressly subject to the State’s collective bargaining laws, and that a provision in state law specified that the “chief executive officer” of a public employer is to meet as soon as possible with the employees’ bargaining agent to negotiate the effect of “a financial urgency requiring modification of an agreement.” The Court concluded that “the statute does not require the chief executive officer’s legislative body to approve or authorize such an action, nor does the statute specify that the legislative body must formalize the underlying conclusion that a ‘financial urgency’ is in effect.

“Under the City of Miami City Charter, the City Manager is the head of the administrative branch of the city government and is responsible for all units of the city government under the City Manager’s jurisdiction. The Charter grants the City Manager control over all departments and divisions of the City. Under those sections, the City Manager (or the City Manager’s designee) executes contracts and other instruments.

“Under section 2.1 of the FOP’s contract, the City Manager (or his designee) is the representative of the City for purposes of collective bargaining negotiations. As a matter of law, then, the FOP’s argument that the City Manager’s invocation of financial urgency was void lacks any textual support in the pertinent ordinances and statutes.”

City of Miami v. FOP Miami Lodge 20, 98 So.3d 1236 (Fla. App. 2012).