The Biscayne Times

Feb 23rd
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Written by Jack King, BT Contributor   
January 2018

Whoa, check out those obscene salaries

HPix_JackKing_1-18ere we go again, having ended another year and beginning a new one. And we somehow seem to have survived one more year with our slightly crazy county and local governments.

The good news for this year? I don’t think anyone in city or county government went to jail. Then again, we don’t have the extensive news media that we’ve had in past years, so maybe the bad stuff is still going on and we just don’t get to hear about it.

So we have a better government in place now -- maybe. It also may be the most expensive government in Florida, and maybe the world!

At the top of the government payroll dung heap is county Mayor Carlos Gimenez. You may remember that several years ago he made a magnanimous offer to cut his salary in half (ostensibly to save the taxpayers money), but now he wants it back, doubling his salary as county mayor to $340,000.

It’s not like Gimenez is starving to death. He does have five public pensions, after all: Miami firefighter, Miami fire chief, Miami city manager, Miami-Dade county commissioner, and Miami-Dade mayor. Talk about double … quintuple … dipping!

Politico Florida reporter and Miami watcher Marc Caputo was on one of the Sunday shows in December and said he didn’t think there was any job in county government worth $340,000. I’d tend to agree with him.

But wait, there’s more!

Of the top 50 salaries in county government, the top 48 all work for Jackson Health System. No. 1 on the list is Jackson’s president, Carlos Migoya, who brings down more than $1 million a year. The last two of the top 50 are schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Miami-Dade County Attorney Abigail Price-Williams. Hell, Mayor Carlos didn’t even break the top 50! Marc, you might need to cut the guy some slack.

Let’s move on to the City of Miami, which suspiciously has been out of the media recently. Nobody’s done anything wrong. Maybe it just seems that way because there’s no media left in this town, or it could be because the city has just had an election and there are some new…er…old faces on the commission. Let me explain.

Two-time Commissioner Francis Suarez won the mayoral race in November, a position his father held twice in the 1980s and 1990s. The elder Suarez was Miami’s mayor from 1985 to 1993, was re-elected again in 1997, and removed by the courts in 1998 in a messy legal battle with another former mayor, Joe Carollo.

The court invalidated the mayoral election based on voter fraud. Suarez took over for a year, and then three years for Carollo.

Now, for reasons that are unclear to me, we have Xavier Suarez, two-time mayor of the City of Miami, in his last two years as a county commissioner, and former mayor Joe Carollo elected to the Miami City Commission for four years.

And along with Carollo on the commission, we have Commissioner Willy Gort and a seven-time loser in running for the commission, Manolo Reyes, who was finally elected in November.

So that makes a Suarez for mayor, and Carollo, Reyes, Gort, and Ken Russell on the commission. I almost forgot Commissioner Keon Hardemon. He made a lot of noise during his first two years, but now he’s pretty quiet.

Would it be possible, please, to get someone other than these retreads to run for public office?

Oh, nearly forgot about our former mayor, Tomás Regalado. He did a commendable job for eight years, not doing too much wrong. That’s because he did exactly nothing. Most of his time was spent handing out proclamations and the keys to the city, mostly around the world while traveling on the city’s nickel.

There’s a lot work to be done in the city, and I don’t see much happening. If you drive by the Seminole boat ramp in Coconut Grove, you’ll see quite a few derelict boats, destroyed in the hurricane. They’re being moved out, not by the city, but by the State of Florida. And it’s taking forever. Why? It’s the only boat ramp between Crandon Park and Matheson Hammock. Not very resident-friendly.

And one last area I’d like see changed: Off-Street Parking, or Miami Parking Authority, or whatever else they call it.

MPA has been running amok for years, and is the only agency designed by the city to keep the city from running amok. MPA was set up by the Florida legislature as a semiautonomous entity in 1955 to keep it on the straight and narrow. Now who keeps the MPA on the straight and narrow? It essentially has no checks and balances -- not the city, not the public.

It’s time to make some changes and keep MPA transparent.


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