DORAL, FL Layoff notices have been issued to senior Miami-Dade Police Department employees, despite Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez’s promises and public statements that no employees would be laid off in the fiscal year.
More than 250 county employees from different departments received a notice informing them that their positions have been eliminated. A third of those employees will have positions in different government agencies, but others are not so lucky.
“It is devastating,” said Miami-Dade Police employee Lizeth Carrera after receiving her notice, Thursday. Carrera, another department employee and members of the Police Benevolent Association were among the hundreds that received the layoff letters informing them that their civilian positions were being eliminated.
“My last day is the day before my birthday,” said a tearful Carrera. “How do you tell your kids this?”
The mother of two said she has worked with MDPD for nearly two decades, creating police training videos and videotaping evidence at crime scenes, just as the other MDPD employee.
According to PBA President John Rivera, the layoffs are a move by Giménez to push the union’s hand to agree on a new health plan, a concession administrators are asking for as negotiations have already stalled for months, despite the mayor agreeing to no pay cuts. “I think it’s retaliatory,” said Rivera.
Rivera called the elimination of jobs a move of terrorism. “I think he [Giménez] is a terrorist,” he said. “I think if you look at the way terrorists threaten people, ‘If you don’t do this, I’m gonna do this,’ that’s exactly what he’s doing to us here.”
While out of town, a spokesperson spoke on Giménez’s behalf and said the move is no act of terror.
In August, Giménez announced, “No sworn police officers would be losing their jobs in the next fiscal year. That is still the case today. No sworn police officers will be losing their jobs.”
Carrera said there is no difference between employees. “We save lives, in a different capacity, but we’re saving officers’ lives,” she said.
The single parent said she needs the money and health insurance that covers her sons.
In a memo, Miami-Dade County Commission Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa asked the mayor for an explanation but later told 7News, “Due to changes in technology, they announced there were going to be some changes done,” she said.
Juan Perez, the MDPD Assistant Director who gave a passionate speech asking civilians to help save police jobs back in August, now said, if the union and administrators would agree, “Those employees would probably be let back in.”
Carrera is unsure what she will do after Oct. 28. “I don’t know where I’ll be, tomorrow or the next 20 days. I don’t know,” she said.
The PBA said they will take legal action to help save the jobs. Rivera said he will not commit to an Oct. 17 meeting between the union and mayor’s staff intended to move negotiations forward.