Monday, September 26, 2011

Botellas should go before firefighters

Some city employees get fired or transferred for real or perceived political alliances that aren't in line with the current administration. Others get a 17 percent paycut forced on them or threatened with a 40 percent downsizing for retaliatory reasons.

But not everybody who works in Hialeah has it so bad.

There are created and choice jobs and "salary adjustments" for those who are connected to the Carlos Hernandez (read: Julio Robaina) administration and/or help pave their political aspirations.
Enrique Flor's story about what is clearly a conveniently created $75,000-a-year position for a one-time (or current, who knows?) hottie of Budget Director Alex Vega in Sunday's paper might be the most salacious example so far, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. ( Ladra already wrote about the multiple program coordinator positions that could easily be combined for easier coordination and other seeming botella or needless positions -- in this economy I'd rather lose a literacy program director than a firefighter -- and later heard about this woman, who serves now administrating "workforce capacity" grants from the state. I wonder how much the city got for that. This is her second transfer. She was an internal auditor during her 2009 affair with her boss, Vega. Five months after his wife (they are now divorced) found them necking in the parking lot and tore apart his office (that is according to a police report), then mayor Julio Robaina -- who lost his heated bid for the county mayor's seat in June -- transferred the little homewrecker. In the Herald, he said it was his decision. But he did not explain why it took him five months after Flor asked repeatedly. I don't know anything about this woman or what she does, but I do think it's worth looking into before the city fires one single firefighter paramedic.  (Ladra is thrilled that other reporters are calling his non-answers and Enrique had another great story about political retribution last week.

Another position to look at is another suspected botellaJonathan Martinez, who has worked for both Robaina, as an aide, and now alcaldito Hernandez as a "mayor's liaison" (read: spy) in four different departments: Building, planning and zoning, code enforcement and occupational licenses. His $37,500 annual salary comes in 25% allotments from each department. That way each department expense looks like it has gone down. (That comes from the cheater, Vega, we are sure). A little trip to the Human Resources department this week -- made possible by a public records request for personnel records made last week -- confirmed that Martinez had gotten the same 17 percent cut that the rest of the employees got last year. His salary went from $2,140 a month to $1,776 a month. But then he helped boss Robaina with the doomed Miami-Dade mayoral race. And his salary went back up to $2,884 a month. If Ladra's math is right, that's a 60% raise. That's hard to justify in these tough economic times that su alcaldito keeps claiming as the reason for the threates against the fire firefighters (because it's really political retribution, as these botella positions show). Martinez refused to answer questions about his position and his duties when asked at a recent council meeting. He also did not return voice mail messages left for him at City Hall.

Hernandez has another staffer whose duties and position may be questionable. Arnaldo Alonso, who took a leave of absence during the mayoral race to help Robaina, is officially the Social Service Family Assistance Supervisor. The job description says that individual coordinates referral services to individuals and families requiring assistance of social service agencies... "conducts comprehensive client assessments to collect functional, environmental, psychosocial, financial, employment, housing, educational, and health information as appropriate to develop and create a cost effective care plan; develops support systems to meet client needs by identifying and coordinating a variety of available services; evaluates client risks and assess need for immediate intervention; prepares written reports for funding agency, city, and cooperating agencies; assists in the recruitment, training, supervision and support of volunteers; interprets and explain laws, regulations and service programs to clients; determines need for and conducts inter-agency and/or family conferences; provides supportive counseling and advocacy for clients... interviews clients with problems such as personal and family adjustments, school attendance, finances, employment, food, clothing, housing and physical needs to determine nature and degree of problem; refers clients to community resources and other organizations; performs job search activities and provides job referral opportunities; coordinates and organizes community outreach workshops for clients; complies records and prepares reports; reviews service plans and performs follow-up to determine quantity and quality of service provided to client and status of client's case; accesses and records client and community resource information; secures supplementary information such as employment, medical records or school reports; responsible for case management involving individual counseling, monitoring and motivating clients; assists with the progress of clients in the fulfillment of their individual employment and training program service strategies..." among other things. Whew. But does he really do that? Alonso did not return calls from Ladra to let us know what he did and give us a peek at some of those client case reports, etc. Because from our vantage point, it looks like his duties for $3,760 a month are to drive su alcaldito around at times, answer calls for his mayoral campaign and schedule his debates as a campaign contact for the media.  That does not seem like something that he should be doing on taxpayer dime and time. Maybe Hernandez's political consultant and absentee ballot broker, Sasha Tirador -- who took the time to call Ladra while I was perusing Alonso's file at the city's Human Resources department to ask if I had found anything interesting in Arnie's file (I'm actually flattered people are spying and reporting my whereabouts at City Hall) -- should be representing the candidate instead of letting a city employee do it while she calls to harass a political blogger. At least she gets paid out of campaign funds.

Interestingly enough, I couldn't find Alonso's position in the new 2011-2012 budget. But I wonder if that's because he'll be transferred or because it's divided into four or five or six different departments.


  1. I hate to be redundant, but it seems that I have the same questions that I had a few blog posts ago. Only the Departments have changed.
    I had questioned why Hialeah has an Education director and a Literacy Lackey, and a hierarchy of subordinates for tasks that already should be delegated to the Miami-Dade School Board and the Florida Dept. of Education. Aren't there corresponding County and State Agencies that handle workforce capacity and Social Services?
    I must qualify my query with the same caveat that Hialeah shouldn't isolate itself from these responsibilities, but again, must Hialeah re-invent the wheel for every government service?
    How do other cities in Florida handle these services? Not that Hialeah should parrot other cities,but instead should determine their own best, cost effective means to a social good.
    There is nothing essentially wrong with municipal jobs and government providing services. Bureaucracy is not innately evil; but one must weigh the cost of bureaucracy against the reality of life on the ground. When is the last time you went to a hospital in Hialeah? My friends and neighbors travel to Miramar to go to a hospital, rather than be subjected to the abuse of Palmetto General Hospital. (Their treatment truly borders on criminal abuse.) Public Health care service in Hialeah is abominable.
    A past Mayor was positioning Hialeah to become its own county, and blessed Hialeah with its own Public Transport System. (The Hialeah Bus system is certainly worthy of a future discussion/blog.) A public hospital with a higher standard of service to the public was also an element of the Hialeah County formula. I'm just wondering if this Hialeah County plan is still laying dormant in Raul's quiver, and if someone can really provide humane public health care to Hialeah's residents; regardless of how many botellas it takes.
    Sorry to have digressed, Ladra. But it is like an old explanation I would get from my father who grew up in the restaurant business.
    If you leave the restaurant full and satisfied, well, yes it might have been a little pricey; but you have been satiated. But if you leave, still a little hungry, a little yearning; then the price was too much. If the City of Hialeah was keeping the Parks and the Pools open, keeping the meals flowing to impoverished children, providing police protection above the minimal requirements, providing a system for good public health...then what the hell, I'll pay my taxes proudly.
    The bottom was better in Hialeah under Raul...and life would be better in Hialeah
    under Rudy. Only the status quo is unacceptable.

  2. Lickerpoet. After that long winded and redundant narrative, it behooves me to see you mix up facts with suppositions.

    Lickerpoet wrote; The bottom was better in Hialeah under Raul...and life would be better in Hialeah under Rudy. Only the status quo is unacceptable.

    Fact: The bottom was better in Hialeah under Raul

    Supposition: Life would be better in Hialeah under Rudy.

    Although you would like Garcia to win, it is only wishful thinking to state that Rudy “would” be better. There are a lot of things that Rudy could do that make the Status Quo look like a field day…

    Substance should not be measured in length but in content. Please give my regards to Pansy. We have a beer pending after this Hialeah elections mess.

  3. The names of hese idiots should not be posted,they have little mental capacity and actualy print this blog and hand out to relatives as a good thing. In addition, Carmens Cue department that was the picture taking department and now is the logistics department is about 1 million a year and useless to its residents. Not to mention her city car and gas. This place is a joke!


  5. If Hernandez lays off just one firefighter he will commit political suicide. It would be a costly mistake on his part.

  6. Ponce tape? We are so scared !!!
    What happen to the city
    not being able to meet payroll? We are almost at the end of the fiscal year and everyone is getting paid by- weekly?

  7. What happen to your article on Raul martinez and the water treatment park?
    You better write on this!!!!!

  8. Johnson
    We bought a broom and toilet cleaner for your new 9-5 job!!!

  9. Payback, you do know that Carlos isn't winning the election right?

  10. Hernandez raised 400000 in money already!!! Money is pouring in!!!

  11. I wonder how much of it is in quarters from the maquinitas?

  12. A lot of it!!!
    Maybe we can hire some of the fired firefighters to help us with all these quarters!!! We are picking up around 2.5 million monthly.

  13. You are not so good at math, Sasha. Maybe that is why your fees are so exorbitant. 2.5 million quarters monthly would be $625,000, no? Or did the other $225K go somewhere else?

    Maybe the city is meeting payroll because of the credit line? And maybe the vendors who were owed at least $1.7 million last month are going to be paid in purchase orders for the next year's budget that have been padded (read: no bid contracts, like Super Landscaping, but there are others... more on that later... lol). Maybe. Not sure. But I know that when they had $8 million in the bank and they wouldn't say how much of that was unencumbered, they were facing a payroll crunch. C'mon. You can't be that blinded by the bull.

    And the best thing about having no editor (or boss) is that I do the stories when I want, not when you want.

    And it's not a supposition that Hialeah under Rudy would be better than it is now. Because life under ABC is better.

  14. Ladra do u know why they postponed the budget hearing? My guess is there's internal bickering about going through with it. Any insight?

  15. Payback, you sound like a frustrated 13 year old boy.

  16. I think it is so that the alcaldito can try this bait and switch with the firefighters, this alleged offer that the city attorney made today -- more than two months after prematurely declaring impasse -- so that Hernandez can go on the news (watch for a press conference tomorrow) and claim innocence. "I tried to save firefighters but the union won't play with me." It's political PR. Very gorilla and very deceitful. I believe it was his plan (read: whoever is pulling the strings' plan) all along. But I'm kinda suspicious and cynical, so maybe not.

  17. That could be it, of course they haven't been attempting to negotiate with the union. Hernandez just doesn't understand what he is doing....he's the rock afterall.

  18. The union can kiss our ass!!!! The Mayor is doing the right thing for our citizens!!!

  19. The right thing for the citizens? By laying off just 1 firefighter the city(your tax dollars) has to payback the federal government 2 million dollars. The mayor and his council have been doing the wrong thing for the city for years. Be happy the firefighters are standing up to these corrupt officials.

  20. That is bullshit. Stop talking shit!! Not true

  21. It's all fact, the safer grant was used by the city the past 5 years to hire firefighters so that minimum staffing would be obtained. Once the city lays off just 1 of those firefighters that they hired with grant money, they have to pay back the Feds over 1.8 million. Ask your precious mayor about that.

  22. Elaine write the story on martinez

  23. Gimenez gave awarded his sons a 50 million dollar contract at airport. Write on that!!! It's a fact!! Look at the new times story. That is accurate reporting.
    Go Luke!!

  24. Fuego continua en las proximas elecciones en la ciudad de HIALEAH Rudy Garcia puede ganar si continua trabajando fuerte hasta Noviembre. Candela predice

  25. -> Anonymous sure of yourself, yet unwilling to identify yourself. I am sorry that you found my diatribe long-winded, but no one forced you to read it. Is your life that shallow and meaningless that you must read that which you find bombastic? Yes, I agree that substance, or more accurately, quality of the substance, is not determined by length, but by content. But the inverse, economy of verbiage does not guarantee quality of content, especially when some one so into themselves, uses a $5 word to express a nickel sentiment, and then uses the term incorrectly.
    "it behooves me to see you mix up facts with suppositions." It is necessary or proper for you to see (me) mix up facts with suppositions?
    Perhaps you meant that it behooves you to point out that I have mixed up facts with suppositions.

    Better to sit in a corner and for people to think you are an idiot, than to open your mouth, or your keyboard, and prove the veracity of their claim.

    We may agree that life in Hialeah was better under Raul, though I alluded to some problems during his reign, e.g. the Hialeah bus system,
    it is still a supposition that life would be better in the future with Raul. The economic conditions are different, as is the political environment. Odds are damn good that life would be better, but as an epistemological exercise, it is still a supposition.
    That I would like Rudy to win is not a given. I have met the man several times, spoken at length with him; and I truly like the man. Although he is a Republican, a Cuban American and a God Fearing man; three traits I find quite toxic: he has quite an excellent record in the Florida Legislature. He was highly regarded, and awarded, by his peers. He has much experience with budgets larger than that of the City of Hialeah. But as Ladra pointed out, Raul would hit the streets of the City running full out. Many of Rudy's ideas would take time to come into fruition.
    But, if either Rudy or Raul takes the helm, they will do it with the real financial facts available to the public. In the Special Master's report concerning the contract negotiations between the City and the Police Dept., the special master stated that the city was guilty of obfuscation and that the city's intent was contrary to the law. In layman's terms, that the city (more specifically the Robaina administration) was lying and breaking the law.
    Balancing a budget is not rocket science, though I certainly would not challenge Raul's experience and knowledge thereof. With all the facts and figures in place, the numbers would fall into place. Bargaining would have to take place, concessions made; but with an honest framework, honest decisions can be made. The Fire Fighters didn't object to bargaining, to making concessions. They objected to a make believe budget; a surplus by a great financial wizard while he was running for county mayor, and a deep deficit when they met at the bargaining table.
    I do not know who Pansy is...but I certainly know who Anonymous #1 is...someone who's hubris greatly exceeds his intellect.

  26. There you go again Lickerpoet… (long winded poet) wholesale explanations wrapped up in semantics. I can only imagine how troubling it must be to you to have to read comments that are short and to the point.

    People usually get credit for ideas not for the amount of words they write, unless of course, they are trying to write a high school report.
    Funny how you somehow see more sincerity in a hidden identity called Lickerpoet (god only knows what you have been licking or sucking on) versus an anonymous posting. Real bravado on your behalf I may add.

    Your explanation amounts to little more than the half of nothing... Do the math. While we know what Raul did as mayor regardless if you like him or not, is a fact. Assuming that Rudy “would” be a good mayor is your supposition or assumption, take your pick buddy. Those were your asseverations in your original comment, not mine.

    (Disclaimer to Lickerpoet’s standards.) This comment was written anonymously. Forgive me for not coming up with a cute covert name or replying in 158 words or less. As far as ideas or substance, you be the judge.

  27. Last Anon. It does not take much to know who the lickerpoet, whose name is a clever take on his persona, is. He is not as anonymous as the rest of your cowards. And his writing is, wel... let's just say that Ladra (who tends to be longwinded, too, but thorough) is smitten. The way to this dog's heart is through the written word and her heart is saved for those who can read between the lines. Stop whining.

  28. Pothead shut up already. Go get high

  29. What I want to know is how Martinez if elected will eliminate all of this ? After all ROBAINA learned form MARTINEZ and HERNANDEZ learned from ROBAINA!

  30. I’ve learned that you can’t waste your time engaging in conflicts that don’t matter.... There will always be critics. There will always be naysayers, but we have to follow the example of Jesus. When He was falsely accused, He didn’t try to defend Himself. He gave no reply to the charges against Him. ~ Joel Osteen

  31. Ladra.. With all due respect… playing favorites on your blog is kind of tasteless... my comment was a response to his whining… if it will make anyone feel better ill come up with a covert name soon.

  32. "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." *
    You have but to look in the mirror to spot the whiner. As for your screen name, I would suggest
    Hugh Bristic, or the quite apropos Scaramouch.

    *Hamlet, Act III, Scene II

  33. hah, and you thought I would post a short comment just to prove you wrong. Since we are on the subject of whiners, and we have grown so close, I felt I could share with you a story of a most famous whiner...behold the Legend of Zelda.

    Cohen’s wife Zelda was a real shrew, a nag, a whiner, who made his life a hell on earth. When she died suddenly while screaming at him one morning, he nearly wept with joy.

    At the funeral, they were carrying her casket to the grave when one of the pallbearers tripped on a big rock, and like dominoes, tripped all the other pallbearers. The casket went careening down the hill where the lid flew open as it crashed into a tree. Zelda sat up and began screaming at poor Cohen. She lived another ten years, making Cohen’s life even more miserable than before.

    Finally, after another day of screaming at Cohen, she suddenly dropped dead again. As the pallbearers were carrying her casket to the grave, Cohen yelled, “WATCH OUT FOR THE BIG ROCK”.

    There is a subliminal message in this tale of Zelda, a double entendre of bring us back to the subject at hand, the Fire Fighters. Watch out for that "Rock", el alcadito, for he is not to be trusted, and can only bring you more years of grief, like Zelda.


  35. Since you care so much about the salaries of others, may the public you are "protecting" know who pays your salary? If we were to look into your closet, what dead skeletons would we find? If you dont even live in the Hialeah area, what is you interest ? i believe there is something behind the curtains but since you only focus on the lives of others, that don't even have anyhing to do with you, i guess we'll never know who pays you to post bias blogpost like these. But hey remember, if you sleep with dogs, you have to deal with the ticks and fleas. By the way, alter egos in the real world are considered something that should belong in a mental institution.. you should really look into that. This is blog is just another false advertisement, everything but the actual TRUTH.

  36. Dead skeletons? Isn't that a tad redundant?
    As long as they don't find any live ones.

    I do have a question, Ladra. The term botella, is that an idiomatic expression that perhaps refers to an empty bottle, like "empty suit" in English. Empty suit: A person ineffective or incompetent in his/her position of authority. Derived from unfavorable observations that ineffective professionals are memorable only for what they wear and not what they accomplish at the workplace. (wiktionary)

    Or is botella more like a ghost employee, i.e., someone recorded on the payroll system, but who does not work for the business. The ghost can be a real person who knowingly or not is placed on the payroll, or a fictitious person invented by the dishonest employer.(

    Or perhaps botella is a combination of both.


I have decided to moderate comments for a while as there are some that are simply off-subject and have become personal and offensive in nature, attacking not just me but others through this venue.

Comments that add substance and context to the news and issues in the blog will be posted. Comments that use profanity and abuse this open space to attack others will be saved and, when called for, sent to the appropriate authorities.