Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gimenez hires "deputy mayor"

This breaking news just in: An hour or two after Jose Mallea called Ladra to tell her he was only going to be the interim chief of staff for new Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Ladra gets the word that Key Biscayne Village Manager Genaro "Chip" Iglesias -- the mayor's former chief of staff when he was commissioner in District 7 -- got the permanent gig. (Kudos to fellow blogger Frank Alvarado for making the prediction).

He will start in mid September and will make an annual salary of $225,000 (that's more than his boss and it is not including benefits) as a Deputy Mayor. That's because in addition to representing Gimenez and running the mayor's office, Iglesias will supervise several of the departments that remain after the mayor downsizes the county. He also said that there might be more deputy mayors named in the near future. (There goes the mayor's cut in his salary).

We had already heard Iglesias' name float around and were told he might become the next fire chief. But even though he was once captain at the Miami Fire Department, that seemed off and we didn't use it. We do know Iglesias (who was also once chief of staff to former county commissioner Jimmy Morales and Gimenez when Gimenez was Miami City Manager) was restless in paradise and had become a finalist for the Pinecrest Village manager job. (He already called them and told them to take his name out of the hat).

Mallea could not be immediately reached and Gimenez is in a meeting, according to his press guy, so I will have to wait for details. Tom Martinelli, the former Marcelo Llorente campaign staffer now working on the mayor's transition team, also said he would get back to me later with a full list of who has been hired and what they are going to earn in pay and benefits.

Iglesias put in his 60-day notice with the village council and that will take him until Sept. 11, meaning he can start Sept. 12 -- one day before the first budget hearing. So, of course, he will be moonlighting. "I'll be helping out unofficially," he said.

Before this last minute change, Mallea -- who will apparently stay through mid September when Chip takes over -- told me he was only going to be a temporary chief of staff until the mayor got his office in order and that he would work for nada, as a volunteer. Just as he did on the campaign. Maybe his new restaurant, The Local in Coral Gables (opened this year with high school chum Mauricio Lacayo) is doing that well. But Mallea -- who also owns JM Consulting Group, a political consulting firm that also does "private advocacy work" (read: lobbying) in DC -- said he won't get paid a dime for county work.

Now, that worries Ladra. Because decent, transparent compensation (especially in a job that someone else is about to get about $18,000 a month for) is not only fair and ethical, it leaves little room for conjecture and things that make you go hmmmmm. Non-existing compensation makes you go hmmmmm because it seems -- at least from the outside -- like there is something under the covers. Quid pro quo? Future favors? A job for someone else close to him (although the mayor's recent history suggests Homey don't play that... sorry to steal, poet).

Maybe Ladra is just too cynical these days and there are other good people, other heroes like the ones who helped Gimenez get elected, that do it out of the goodness of their hearts (or their hatred for Robaina) or their concern for the wellbeing of this community.

Forget being chief of staff. That guy should run for office.


  1. FYI - The first budget hearing is September 8th.

  2. A county employee, a friend of mine, who works for the Police Dept, but not a sworn officer, just came in and opined that Gimenez was coming at the county employees "hard", that she hoped "we" had done the right thing. I had pushed hard to convince her that Gimenez was the right choice. And now , my friend, well, she wonders if I had led her astray. I know that I didn't, because the alternative was unacceptable on every level. Still, everyone has their one perspective, garnered from their own life experiences. $225,000 a year, plus benefits, seems like a Hell of a lot of money, to be a deputy anything, at least from my life's perspective.

    In 2009, the median income for a household in the city (Miami) was $29,812, and the median income for a family was $33,814. The per capita income for the city was $19,846. About 21.7% of families and 26.3% of the population were below the poverty line. Granted that you have to pay top dollar to get top grade help; but didn't we "hire" Gimenez cause HE could get the job done. Is a deputy Mayor worth more than 11 times the per capita income of the City of Miami, plus benefits?
    What do I know? I work 90 hours a week, no vacations, no golden parachute at the end of the tunnel, more stress, personal investment, ever increasing regulation from every level of government, and even in my best years, I earned only a fraction of this deputy's salary.
    Ladra, thanx for keeping us abreast of the new players on the roster and their salaries. Hopefully you will eventually add them all up and see the improvement, or lack of one, over the last mayor that we aborted.
    I can only echo the concern of my county employee friend. I hope we've done the right thing. Of course, there is always another election down the road.

  3. Lickerprick Sounds to me that you are a loser.

  4. Licker, both Gimenez and Robaina promised to roll back the tax rate increase, no matter who got elected, county employees were going to have to take a financial hit. When you have a 400 million dollar deficit for next year there is no way that employees are not going to be impacted. If you look at what Robaina did in Hialeah to the employees his cuts might have been worse, he cut many employees 30%. If Mayor Gimenez is going to name a couple of deputy Mayors at that pay rate he needs to eliminate the country manager and several of her deputies. Lets wait and see what he does before we judge, in 15 months we have another election for the time being I am giving him the benefit of the doubt

  5. What happened to Gimenez pushing to scale cuts? He championed that cause when he was a commissioner however the $24,000 secretary will be getting cut 21% under his new proposed County budget and the same cuts go to the Executives that make over $100,000.00 .
    What happened to the Commissioners "Slush fund", What happened to Take home vehicles for the highest paid, while lower wage employees pay for car insurance, gas and tolls - they get a free ride and continue to do so. What happened to Executive Benefits - He is quick and so are the comments of the majority of the Commissioners "grand standing" Commissioner Bell, Suarez and others to cut the lowest paid employees but - God forbid touching the highest paid that do not provide direct service to the community. Gimmenez talked a Big game but I see doing the SAME as others - I really really hope I am wrong, since I voted for him.

    I knew there would be cuts however I believed he would do it fairly - Go talk to the $24,000.00 secretary and after the cuts ask her how she will bar this cut, while the fat cats are still getting fatter.

  6. Gimenez is one stupid guy that can't add or subtract. He will be horrible and will move the udb line. That has been promised to Barreto and Rosen. Voter will be dissapointed.

  7. Appearances are important. Yes, you want a good person, the best person to be your deputy, your second in command. You have to pay this person a salary commensurate with their abilities, or they will take another job where they are paid the top dollars. But when you are asking employees who already aren't living high on the hog; to take a pay cut, and then to double their contribution to their health insurance. Yes, life isn't easy, yes, the county budget deficits must be eliminated; but if the rank and file have to sacrifice; then the man at the top must sacrifice too. $225,000 plus benefits is just too damn much for a deputy during these times when everyone else has to sacrifice. Maybe in the long run it might be the right move, saving money by replacing several department managers, or a county manager; but for right now, to claim he is setting an example by cutting his salary in half, and then hiring a deputy at $225,000 plus benefits....this is disingenuous..to put it politely....hypocritical, not so politely. But this is only the first inning...there is a long season ahead.

  8. Oops. I must have meant the second budget hearing. My bad. Though I am sure that Chip will be working on that first one, too.

  9. As a county employee, this sends the wrong message at the wrong time. I do not have an issue, or do I care what anyone else makes.. (I am not a 6 figure employee.) However, this sounds like Alvarez part deux. We are getting hit hard yet again, and he hires a guy at $225. C'mon! Hyprocrisy at its best.

  10. Gimenez spoke a BIG game as County Commissioner and even the County employees (not the bloated fat cats that ALL earn more than $100,000 plus ALL the PERKS) but the ones who always take the hit and insults of the public voted for him.

    What did that get - more of Alvarez - exactly what no one wanted. He has not fired 1 single person at the top.

    Yet ALL county employees from those that make $22,000.00 already contribute 5% to insurance and 3% to pensions, they gave up 12% for 1 year and what happens now -

    Well that was not enough, so another %5 to make a total of 10% for Insurance plus the actual $180.00 bi-weekly payment to the Insurance company, 3% toward Pension and oh yeah another 12% freeze on merit increases and longevity! WOW but there is monies to start spending on high salaries at the top.

    If County employees had a $150.00 pension sure cut our salaries by 1/2 also.

    This is starting wrong, smells like the same, what a shame - but we will get $100.00 tax brake however, who will pay the mortgage?


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