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Police, Concerned Citizens Protest Miami’s Cuts

September 25, 2009

ScreenshotThe Miami Herald reports that, “city commissioners faced hundreds of angry union members Thursday night, as the city’s second budget hearing highlighted the impasse between City Hall and police officers determined not to take home smaller paychecks or suffer reduced ranks.”

By late Thursday, commissioners had not yet figured out how to fill the hole. Dozens of frustrated union members and residents had voiced their concerns, and dozens more were waiting in line. More than 150 people had signed up to speak.

After Miami Mayor Manny Diaz blasted the police union for not being willing to negotiate, the head of the police union held up a list of all the Miami police officers who have died on duty. “What the city is doing is unconscionable,” Fraternal Order of Police President Armando Aguilar said. “If there’s a time to dip into reserves, this is it.”

The fire union has a tentative deal in place, which includes salary slashes that members are expected to vote on next week. The general employees union also is close to a deal. But facing the loss of up to 177 officers, police have stubbornly held out.

Also filing into Miami City Hall were residents who came to support funding for Virginia Key Beach, Miami’s historic black beach, and dozens of folks worried that their Neighborhood Enhancement Team offices — similar to mini City Halls — would vanish.

Miami is facing a $118 million hole in the $511.4 million 2010 budget proposed by Mayor Diaz. To balance the books, the mayor has asked the city’s three main unions for a host of concessions that include salary cuts. The alternative: face the loss of up to 500 employees — about 15 percent of Miami’s total workforce.

An 11th-hour plea against Miami cuts [Miami Herald]

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