Sunday, April 24, 2011

Robaina gets scorcher of a ruling

Ouch! Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina -- now running for the county mayor's post -- might have felt a little burn Friday when the city was ordered to rehire 16 veteran firefighters he summarily dismissed right before a union vote expected to reject $4.4 million in concessions. And right before Christmas.

I bet there's smoke coming out of his ears.

"Since you are receiving a pension of 75% of your final average compensation, I recognize that you are in such better position to sustain your livelihood than an employee who would be terminated without any pension income,” Robaina wrote to them in the December termination letters quoted in the ruling. (At least he has a taste for sarcasm.).

The senior firefighters (read: big salaries) were all in the DROP plan, which means they postponed retirement for up to five years, and some within the union suggest they were targeted to sway the vote. They filed grievances on the grounds that economic reasons are not cause for termination and the firings were actually layoffs in disguise without cause or notice as required.

Fort Myers arbitrator Robert Hoffman agreed. “The city failed to have just cause, cause and good cause,” which is a nice way of saying they had absolutely no cause at all, Hoffman said, adding that the firefighters “shall be immediately reinstated to their former positions and made whole.” That means paid retroactively to December. Add to that whatever it cost the city to defend this action.

All this to be a bully?

There is a right way to negotiate and a gangster’s way to do it. Ladra is not necessarily happy about the paid five-month vacations for these dedicated and hardworking first responders, no matter how wonderful they are. Even though it does provide the voting public with a nice warning at the right time. But since they all contend that they were “willing to make some concessions in the first place, including retirement” for some DROP staff, and it was “Robaina who acted in bad faith ,” they can compromise now and come out of it true Hialeah heroes. And make him look like the heavy again. Which is really easy, actually.

In the ruling, even the arbitrator – who probably knows nothing about Robaina’s alleged freelance loan sharking, gaming industry appeal, zest for no-bid vendors at the city and real estate development ties – made some observations worth pointing out to voters.

1) The action was taken without a formal cost analysis, which is “especially significant here, given that this is not the usual cost-cutting measure, whereby the most expensive employees are cut back, laid off or terminated to save the total cost of their salaries and benefits.”

2) The city would have to hire replacements for the high-ranking officers – which include three district chiefs, three captains and eight lieutenants – and they could not be entry level, so savings were not immediately evidently significant, Hoffman said (read: It was payback from the mayor).

3) The city failed to terminate other employees, including senior non-drop fire officials that would have meant a greater savings to the city because it would be a 24 percent decrease in pension costs.

4) There are “questions about the legitimacy of the reasons to terminate” the firefighters because of the timing right before the union vote.

He stopped short of saying that Robaina fired the firefighters so they would not be able to vote against the contract ratification. But that’s what Ladra is growling about. Is this the kind of leadership we want at the county?

I hope the "dropped 16" as they have been called in the firehouse start back at work Monday.


  1. I loved reading the truth and appreciate someone who is willing to tell it. Just to let you know the firefighters are not back to work even though Mayor Robaina was ordered to do so. I guess he feels he is above the law. Please feel free to keep us informed on Mayor Robaina.

  2. They have not recieved a paycheck since December think about that for a minute, they did nothing wrong!

  3. who the hell cares about over paid fire fighters!!!!! working 2 days a week and fighting fires that don't exist.

    You guys are a joke, go ahead raise my taxes so that we can fund these insane pensions for a bunch of uneducated morons who all they do is lift weights at station.

    Banana Republic!!!!!!!!!

  4. Everybody kind of knows that Ladra loves firefighters, so I care. Are they sometimes overpaid? Perhaps? But that is not the fault of all of them. The whole system, from Hialeah to Coral Gables to Miami Beach, needs to be reworked. Like Gabrielle Redfern said at one debate, pensions were carrots to draw workers to municipal jobs that were traditionally low paying. But the public worker's salary has become more in line -- sometimes above -- the private sector and the fantastic pensions were never pruned back at the same time. But I can probably say with 99 percent certainty that there are no firefighters are overpaid (by the way, it's one word Mr. Educated) as Mayor Robaina, who takes home around $250,000 between his salary and two expense accounts that are directly deposited into his account without any receipts needed. (read: second salary) and who said in a city letter that the 16 firefighters would be brought back to work. They have not. Firefighters work 24-hour shifts every three days and, in addition to the occasional fire, they extricate accident victims from their crushed vehicles, administer CPR to elderly who suffer heart attacks, resuscitate children who nearly drown and treat hundreds if not thousands of cuts, burns, bites and broken bones. It is one of the busiest fire rescue departments in the state. And the city did not need to raise taxes, as independent auditors of their budgets have stated, to keep them, some of whom would not blink before they risk their lives to save yours -- even a misguided moron and bigot like you. (Oh, and where can I go watch them lift weights?)

  5. Above post has dissastrous spelling due to hands shkaing from anger.. THAT PUNK GOT THE BEST OF ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. WOW.. Now we are a on a tisk I feel as if i must comment.. To Mr. Anonymous: hey sweetcheeks, the first thing you gotta do before you blow your load here on a factual blog is have the BALLS to use your real name.. Pleasure to meet you sunshine. My name is Eric Johnson. I am a Hialeah Fireman; A DAMN PROUD HIALEAH FIREMAN at that. I work at west 8 ave and 49 Street, Station 3 if you would like me to be more exact. My Email is and my Cell is (ha ha almost had ya) just in case you would like to recieve some of the factual information before you further your childish, uneducated and unappreciated comments. As a Fireman I work 24 hours on and take 48 hours off. I certainly dont sit around the station and lift weights all day as you say, rather this Uneducated Moron as you put it, runs calls on people like you and your family members. OH.. By the way. You will find that the rest of the Uneducated Morons here in Hialeah (firemen)that you talk about:40% do have college degrees, and judging by the educational level of your post I would guess that you, yourself, did not get past ahhh maybe lemme see... ahhhhh 5th grade.. Oh just for shits and giggles lets do this you panty waist pansy..... In Hialeah we do it all baby.... WE DO MORE FOR LESS WITH LESS.. AND BETTER THAN THE REST.... We are a strange breed here.. As the larger municipalities can place a hundred firefighters on a simple house fire we run our ENTIRE CITY on 53 people a day.. So what do we do you ask??? WE GET THE JOB DONE PUNK.... We have the guts, the balls, and the courage to RISK OUR LIVEs for unappreciative, uneducated PUNKS like you without the opportunity to ever see your face or get to know you... When you get done buffing your nails at night, sipping on your latte' and place your head on your goose down pillow I am jumping into a canal, in 30 degree weather looking for a baby still strapped into his car seat that some drunk ASSHOLE just ran off the road.... HEY BUT MUNCH... You ever seen a dead baby?? You ever held a mothers hand and told her we tried all we could?? Have you ever entered a burning home searching for trapped occupants while you are burning up yourself; but you know if you stop looking they will certainly die??? WE DONT STOP HERE IN THIS CITY!!!! FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION IN OUR BOOKS!!! Next time you wanna WHINE like the CANDY ASS you are about A Fireman lifting weights just sit back and think;;;;; How big a feller are ya?? If you live in our city and got past a mango season or two YOU BETTER PRAY that I was lifting weights to pull your fat lifeless body out of harms way when seconds count... By the way.. We prefer more intellectual stimulation than just a weight bar.... Like Pharmalogical dopamine calculations at 3 am in a moving truck 0.5 - 2 mcg/kg/min for vasoldilation or 2 - 10 mcg/kg/min for improved myocardial contractility... And here you thought we were just DUMB FIREMAN... Shame on you Mr. Ignorant.....

  7. Ex Mayor Robaina has just cost the City of Hialeah over 1 Million dollars. The firefighters who were illegally fired are still not back to work. It is costing the City of Hialeah 10000 a day. The union did not cause this. Mayor Robaina who is a horrible adminstrator and has no ethics or morals cause this. When we become a two class system (Rich and Poor) There will be no question who won. The law is made to follow and Mr Robaina seems to be incapable of doing that. Mr Robaina chooses to ignore the law of this great land. Pray he does not get his dirty hands on Miami Dade County.

  8. Anonymous/Banana Republic don't worry the next time a firefighter / paramedic goes on a call for your family they will be the professionals they are. They will do everything that they have been trained to do to help your family in their time of need. It would not matter how you spoke or acted. They would still be the professionals that they are. You have no idea what training is involved. I suggest you volunteer. Possibe a house fire, or accident victim then maybe possibly you may get a little idea of what this job is about. I know because my family understands the important job they do. I hope you never need to find out


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