Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hialeah's padded, bogus budget

The proposed 2011-2012 Hialeah budget is an almost two inches thick and divided into sections that lay out the plan to operate the city's departments and services with $263.4 million.

But it is so full of holes that it shouldn't weigh as much as it does.

Only about $115.6 million is in the general fund, the rest of that is in capital projects funds ($4.8 million all for Milander Park, which is one improvement plan that has to be audited and/or investigated come Nov. 17), special revenue funds -- grants like Children's Trust and affordable housing, transit monies and fire rescue transportation -- and enterprise funds, like solid waste and the cash cow Water and Sewer, with a $103.4 million budget that the city keeps dipping into to cover expenses, we suspect (more on that later). So let's concentrate for now on the general fund, which is where mayoral stand-in Carlos Hernandez plans to extract close to $7 million from the fire department by firing 105 firefighters and paramedics.

Let's pretend this is not political backlash and retribution for the endorsement of his challenger, former Mayor Raul Martinez, which came one day before the alcaldito announced his plans to cut the fire rescue personnel by 40 percent and distributed a an article of past hostilities between the fire union and the Dark Prince (a bitter pill to swallow for many firefighters who remember the former mayor's hardline with them in his administration). Let's pretend it is not blatant retaliation for the union's consistent legal victories that have found the city time and time again to practice unfair labor laws and which have cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in fines, legal costs and overtime. Let's pretend it is not a pathetic example of blackmail as the council and administration extort the firefighters by saying the terminations could be stopped if they just swallow whatever concessions the mayor demands, rather than sit at a table and, in good faith, find ways to compromise on items that can lead to savings for the taxpayers, as the firefighters have offered. (We really cannot believe this is even legal for them to do this). Let's pretend it is not a campaign ploy in a desperate attempt to keep his $190,000 job and VIP pension -- because the council members get pension, too, and preferential treatment (more on that later).

Let's pretend, also, that any one of those council members actually read the budget and all its glorious chapters and line-by-line itemizations. I say pretend because it is plainly clear that the Seguro Que Yes crew either did not read the budget or did not understand it. And I can understand that. Ladra is not a financial genius by any means, and this budget is not an easy thing to get through (so I cannot imagine either council member Pablito "Huh" Hernandez or Katherine "I sleep here and there" Cue getting the fine details). But there are definitely some questions that council members should have asked if they had been paying any attention to where the budget director, Alex Vega, is hiding the money. Instead, they stare blankly as others ask the questions they should be asking. Like why the budget does not reflect the $10 million that the city has twice been ordered to pay the general employees for a grievance the general employee union won and that the city is still appealing, at more legal costs to taxpayers. It doesn't reflect that almost certain debt. Like why there are more than 32 additional positions (read: ghost workers to pad the budget) budgeted in the water and sewer department? Like why the revenues reflected for monies owed to the city from the county for overpayment on water and sewer fees are zero when there should be revenues there. After Martinez asked about it at the budget hearing , department director Armando Vidal said that he did not know why that line item had a zero. Because it shouldn't be. It was a classic moment that perfectly illustrated how bogus and ridiculously falsified this budget is.

Still, there are more questions that the council should have asked. Especially before they voted to pass a bogus budget that calls for the firing of 105 of 271 firefighter paramedics based on economic hardship that, if you look elsewhere in the budget, doesn't seem to really exist.

Let's start with some positions that we want to know more about before we cut one single first responder from our fire rescue personnel. The "budget in stages" calls for the first 14 to be unemployed as of Oct. 1. They already got their letters from human resources about Sept 30 being their last day. But I found 14 or so other jobs that maybe should be eliminated instead. Maybe these positions are crucial. Maybe they are the botellas that they seem to be. This was admittedly found in a very quick and shallow look at the budget by Ladra, a dog who really doesn't know what she is looking for. And we don't have names attached to the budget, which is a shame since we would really like to know who these people are and what they do. But we will ask.

The director of the department of education and community service, for example, makes $91,000 and a "recreational supervisor" in the same department and a "recreational special programs supervisor" make about $68,000 each. Who are these people and what do they do? And are the two supervising jobs so different that we need two? And then a third, really, if you count "education special programs director" budgeted at $48,800 (there are already two education center directors getting paid a total of $52,000 between them; couldn't they handle "special programs"? Especially when the budget already has a $37,400-a-year "communications and special events supervisor"? And, then, wait, why is there also a "recreation programs supervisor" making $60,000 at the parks and recreation department. Is that different than the "recreational special programs supervisor" in education and community service? Some of these positions seem repetitive. Soon, we are going to need a coordinator to coordinate all these people and their jobs.

There is also a "literacy program director" (I kid you not) with $54,000 a year salary and a "sponsorship coordinator" with a salary of $37,600. The number of "community development representatives" grew from one to four for a combined $91,100. That's three new positions. There is also a "mayor's liaison" with a $38,000 salary -- a new reward, er, I mean position, probably, for either Jonathan Martinez or Arnie Alonso, who each spent much time campaigning for former mayor Julio Robaina's failed county mayoral bid and will likely waste much of their taxpayer-paid time doing the same thing for their new boss -- where 25 percent of the salary comes out four different departments: the code enforcement, occupational license, building and planning and zoning departments. Neither one would tell me when I asked what their new reward jobs were. There's another position, one not budgeted last year, that is paid from two different accounts: a "purchasing/property director" with an $80,000 salary -- 25 percent of which comes out of the office of management and budget and 75 percent of which comes out of "affordable housing fund." Another new position is the building official, a title to which the senior building plan processor was promoted, with a salary of $96,000. This person's former salary in the last position, where he or she was performing these duties, is not listed in the budget because it is eliminated. So, basically, this person was promoted, it seems. Wonder if it was a big raise.

These are great positions to be able to have in a city government, but maybe not at the price of 40 percent of the first responders who safeguard the residents lives for an average of $70,000. I have asked for a finer salary breakdown in the department, as some supporters of this dangerous and absurd proposal to cut two out of every five allegedly overpaid firefighters have suggested, and I expect to get those public records faster than I get most documents that I requested (have waited more than a week to see personnel records for Martinez and Alonso, and I bet that won't come as quickly). But the proposed budget does reflect that the fire chief, who has been awfully silent about this plan to cut 40 percent of his staff, makes $131,000 and the assistant chief make $114,000. Three battalion chiefs make $364,720 between them, so that's about $121,500 each and four division chiefs making about $105,00 each. But none of these top management employees are going to get fired, I bet. Not that they should. These are enviable salaries, sure, but these people are in those positions because they have worked for decades and climbed up the civil ladder and they make policy and operational decisions that affect hundreds of workers and hundreds of thousands of residents. And if we are going to size them up, it would be smart to compare them to, say, the police chief's salary and fire chief salaries across the county and/or state for cities of similar size and population.

And while they seem like very high salaries at first glance, it's not that much when you realize that the mayor makes $190,000 a year to dole out political favors to his campaign contributors and use the office and bully pulpit to campaign for election -- not re-election since he was never elected to this position. It's not that much when you realize that executive salaries in the city clerk's office are projected to rise by $41, 342. Yes, they have a new office coordinator at $35,300 but lost a records manager who makes $35,900 (transferred to the building department for whatever reason). And the department has a new administrative aide for $26,600 but they lost a clerk/typist and a print shop technician. So two new staffers, three other positions gone is a net loss of one position. There should be an overall decrease, no?

There are so many questions about this budget, in fact, that one has to wonder if Vega, the man who wrote it for the mayor and makes $118,000 a year to play a funny money shell game for their political friends and aspirations, is overpaid.


  1. Time to expose the minions who have benefited for years from their relationship with Julio "el Gambero" de Hialeah and now Carlos "el alcaldito". We all know that el alcaldito will not change anything that el gambero put into play for fear of losing his mentors support and protection. Thus the dupicating of public services, the handing out of political jobs as restitution for ass kissing and the blatant mis use of public monies via friendly and illegal bid gifts will continue until Nov.2. I wonder how many are embelishing their resumes as i type (on city time and the tax payers dime of course). Interesting to ponder how many resignations will be primed, printed and prepared for delivery by Nov 1? I wonder how many calls have been put into el gambero at his million dollar beach condo looking for a handout? Later today all the names of each of the positions referenced above will be printed with their actual job descriptions not the ones they want u to read but their real responsibilities.

  2. Here we go. Lets start with the department heads for Recreation and Education and Community Services. Although these 2 departments should be one they are not. They are not for various reasons not the least of which is that the Recreation ass-clown in charge Manny Ferrera is so dense and intellectually challenged and limited that if he fell he would graze on the grass. The ECS (education and community service) director Marla Alpizar is the polar opposite of the ass-clown. She is a bright (without question the sharpest tool in that drawer)intellegent, articulate and educated lady who is a tireless worker who is committed to community service. Yes, I said educated because that is at a premium in these two departments. Ferrera, the ass-clown is a highschool graduate who kissed his ass (and that of some mothers at Slade Park, but that a story for another day)to a directors position. On the other hand, Mrs. Alpizar worked her way to director and currently works more than before. See, I told you they were polar opposites. The ass-clowns lack of vision, initiative and motivation built a roadblock when it came to working as one. His main concern was to get into the drop program to bank as much city money asap before jumping ship. His motto..."Don't rock the boat" You see his idea of recreation is to have just enough programming but not enough that he has to work.

    Now the underlings...
    Recreation special Programs Supervisor;
    Valerie Nale- Responsibilities are limited to ensuring that her directors carry out programming assigned. She is assigned a take home city vehicle as a perk.
    Recreation Supervisor;
    Linda Harrington- Responsibilities are even less than Nale's. All programming is provided and executed by site directors. Harrington is also given a take home city car.
    Education special Program director;
    Jeff Lagomaccini (Mayor Robaina's buddy from his days at Prestige Builders, more on that later). Responsibilities are to let his site directors (the same site directors Harrington and Nale have) execute the assigned programming. Also , city car

  3. PART #2
    So in essence you have 3 people supervising the same group of sites and site directors. It gets worse. All these sites have Center Directors that run the parks and have little if anything to do with the aforementioned program. Duplication times 10.
    Keep reading it gets more interesting.
    The communication and special events department was created as a personal publicity outlet for el gambero so that his fat mug would be plastered all over the city. The work of that entire department was done more efficiently 6-7 years ago with 3-4 people and no director.
    If you thought ECS was duplicating services listen to this.
    The once lauded Recreation Department which is now virtually non-existent largly due to the apathy,lack of direction and zero motivation starting at the top with ass-clown Ferrera and trickling down to the much abused part-time employees. Ass-clown Ferrera thinks a good day of work entitles rolling into the office around 8 having cuban coffee in the rear breeze way talking about games, women and what went on over the weekend. He grabs the costumary diet coke out of the machine or his personal stash in a cooler sitting in his adjoining conference room calls in his minions Recreation Supervisor Pablo (NO DEGREE) Bermudez whose responsibilities live and die with what the staff are doing. all he does is make threats and write employees up for major, minor or imagined issues. Most importantly, he needs to be available to the ass-clown when he begins his daily travel to vicky's, etc. (60+K really)!!!!!!!
    Then there is Ovidio NO "REAL Degree" Paz (online degree that his wife earned for him). his responsibilies are to program athletic leagues. But wait, the youth of the city have been cheated for years because this Tony Montana wannabee consistently fails to do his job. The few leagues they have are coordinated by the site directors and pat-time staff. he does nothing.....there is 60+K right there.
    Then you have Joe 'GED" Dziedzic...another supervisory position given to an unqualified uneducated moron. There is little to be said of such a pathetic individual. He is the poster child for incompetence. This member of the circus is soley responsible to issue a permit to use a facility. Thats it. He spends his day joking around, stuffing his face and driking diet coke while sucking up to ass-clown Ferrerea. wow, there is so much more but little time. If you need more just ask via this commnet page

  4. please continue, very informative.

  5. How about that Hialeah guys, I guess that why they call it Cubaliah... ha ha. You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself, as a one man wolf pack. Though when my sister brought Doug home I knew he was one of my own. And my wolf pack, it grew by one. So there was two of us in the wolf pack, I was alone first in the pack and then Doug joined later. And six months ago when Doug introduced me to you guys, I thought "wait a second could it be?" and now I know for sure I just added two more guys to my wolf pack. Four of us wolves running around the desert together in Las Vegas, looking for Elaine Del Valle and cocaine. So tonight, I make a toast!"

  6. @Anonymous
    How many years has each of these people been with the City?????

  7. True, at least “Pansy” was a bit more vociferous.

  8. Continuing, In difficult financial times that call for fiscal responsibility you have a fically irresponsible Mayor "Robaina" with an equally irresponsible "YES" council and el alcaldito that has jepordized the cities financial status over the last 6 years. There is a ridiculous amount of service duplication throughout the city, but lets focus on Recereation/ESC for the time being. I promise to get to the rest in due time.
    Here we have two departments that essentially do or should be doing the same thing.

    "Providing the necessary recreational and educational opportunities that are required and or needed by the community".

    Yet, the failure is monumental. History lesson time; I'm told that years ago Ass-clown Ferrera found it so difficult to work with women around (he likes women, but believes they have their place, and his office was not it) that he told El Gambero that he needed to surround himself with his friends and buddies (in the real world they are called minions or yes boys), I regress, so he forced Harrington and Nale out, brought in 3 uneducated cronies,(Bermudez,Paz and Dziedzic which is stupider or less intelligent has yet to be proven) thus forcing Nale and Harrington over to ECS and Mrs. Alpizar who was NOT given the option of rejection. Why is this important, i'll tell you. Now Alpizar was forced to create 2 supervisory positions that did not exist and were not needed. Ass-clown Ferrera quickly appointed (with el gambero's blessing)the aforementioned baboons to acting supervisors effectivley doubling the supervisory positions each of which come with a city car. The trickle down continues as other positions and titles below Harrington and Nale are created in an attempt to justify their positions. Positions that have no realistic use but cover up the mis use of funds. Hey, a pig with lipstick is still a PIG.

  9. To Julissa,

    Ass-clown Ferrera has been around long enough to have entered the drop program 25 yrs.
    Bermudez and Paz both are close to 20 or just over from what i understand.
    Dziedzic is the least senior (maybe 10) as he left the city twice did a two day stint as a garbage man before quiting and returning as a part-time park guy.
    Nale and Harrington are plus 25 and I understand are also in the drop program.
    All these individuals could disappear tomorrow and neither of their departments would skip a beat, because not only do they actually produce very little as individuals, they are part of the problem of duplicating services and failing to provide the community with the necessary level of service due to apathy, neglect and lack of initiative. So much more could be done with so much less if only there was vision and leadership at the top.

  10. I would have to agree with you Anonymous, this is the problem with Government in general and unions,pension AND leadership play a huge part of this too. You obviously either work for the city or worked for the City as you have personal knowledge of all these individuals. I cannot speak knowledgably about them, however they have been around long before Mr. Robaina (or if you prefer "el gambero") was Mayor so I think it speaks to a culture of government more than blaming it on the past/current administration. This culture is exactly what people in Hialeah and Miami-Dade County are railing against,where people get promoted simple because they worked on campaigns or they have a friend in a department. I think it is an ongoing "diease" in Government not isolated in Hialeah. The only solution if firing individuals that are either unqualified or simple do not do their jobs, but as soon as this would happen lawsuits would fly accusing management of firing people because of "poltical motivations" as is the case with at least on individual at HHA, and so the beat goes on and we are still going around pointing fingers and getting nothing done, while they keep wasting municipal and federal dollars from OUR POCKETS.

  11. I tell you, the people in Hialeah are very imaginative but why would anyone call Julio Robaina "gambero". He is nothing like a SHRIMP.

    You should have paid attention in class and practiced your Spanish. Perhaps you would be able to spell the word you are trying to use. Hint - it has two r's.

    Olimpia R.

  12. Great,so now we will concern ourselves with whether or not someone is using the proper spanish noun to describe a piece of sh*t. Gimme a break.

  13. Apparently I have a groupie. I'm flattered you still think of me every day. How long did it take you to write this time?

    With love,


  14. Very intelligent questions that may never be answered. Like how can you have a FIRE INSPECTOR THAT CAN'T SPEAK OR READ ENGLISH?
    Answer: Cronyism!!! Clean house people, clean house.......

  15. It will be a special day when ACTING mayor Carlos Hernandez and the Miscarriage that is the Council is gone. Please, People of Hialeah, vote intelligently and don't be swayed by these corrupt losers.

  16. Mr Carlos Blanco
    Why do you hide and attack all your fellow X-co workers. You are a bad person. You work with us for 20 plus years and speak about us like this.
    We never looked at you different when your were caught stealing from the city PEPSI money that we had to change the policy because of you.
    We never looked at you different when your wife idy fucked Angel Elizarde for a Center Director position.
    We never looked at you different when you were accused of fucking your wife best friend that was your employee.
    So why now this hatred with us?

  17. @ Co-Worker
    WOW! I thought the 4th Floor had problems....

  18. Keep up the good work Ladra, all of the work that the council has done in the darkness is being brought into the light and justice will prevail! They are scrambling now trying to find any which way to cover up their blunders but it isn't going to work. The Firefighters will win, yet again, and Hialeah will be turned around for the better once they are out of office.

  19. Holy Sh!t!!!

    First off let me say that I agree with a lot of what Ladra writes on this blog. It is very interesting reading especially for those of us that continue to have strong ties to the City. However, I must say that I believe that the comments made on this post have taken everything to another level completely. I do not believe that this is what Ladra intended when she wrote this blog.

    Listen, I'm all for everyone sharing their opinions, as long as those opinions do not include the public trashing of individuals. @Anonymous #1, your information was possibly accurate for the most part but I believe a lot of your personal feelings towards some of these individuals is coming to far into the light. This should not be the venue for spewing out indecencies and personal attacks on what I can only assume to be current or past co-workers. Maybe your past position or current situation leads to these feelings, but, in my opinion, maybe you should stick to providing as many facts as possible and leave the nicknames to Ladra. She definitely uses a bit more tact with those.
    @Co-worker, I don't believe that anywhere in @Anonymous's comments there were sufficient clues as to the identity of the author. I can honestly appreciate your gusto and fervor for attempting to defend the people that were mentioned, however, two wrongs do not make a right. If your accusation as to the identity of @Anonymous is incorrect, you have now hurt and defiled the name and reputation of two people that, quite possibly, had nothing to do with these comments!
    All of this shows the problems that are so deep within the City, not only at the upper levels of government, but also amongst its employees. I believe that we should all point fingers and look at ourselves first before we accuse and belittle others for certain situations they may not have any control over. Let's do our jobs with the same gusto as we seem to have when we make accusations and use harsh words about others that we may have shared a cafecito or two with in the past.
    @Ladra, keep up the great writing and keep on providing as many facts as you can. Hopefully, we will get the idea that the only real way to make a change is to vote on November 1!

  20. I am all for government providing services to its citizenry. I am no anti-tax, shrink government to so small an entity that you can drown it in the bathtub, lunatic tea bagger.
    Perusing the labyrinthine online presence of the City of Hialeah, one cannot but be impressed by all the ancillary functions that the City provides. All governmental entities have been forced to tighten their belts, especially County School Boards. That Hialeah has a Department of Education, and a director thereof, and an associated hierarchy of workers seems not to be the best expenditure of our limited tax dollars. It seems more logical, and more cost effective, to coordinate the City's efforts and well meaning dollars with the local governmental agency tasked with providing education, the Miami-Dade School Board. A good portion of our real estate tax dollars are specifically designated for that purpose; whereas our municipal taxes should first provide for the general welfare of the public; police, fire, health, streets,
    I am not suggesting that Hialeah should abandon these valid educational and community outreach programs; just that Hialeah should support the frameworks already established by the State and County, and not try to re-invent the wheel in Hialeah; and have our limited funds going to salaries of directors and support staff, rather than directly to an established program.
    One question that I do have of Ladra. On your blog, June 2, 2011, "Robaina Gets Toddler Base", you wrote of a Dr.Eileen Fluney, who violated IRS non-profit rules by allowing a political demonstration by the young children under her guidance on the school property. The political demonstration was in support of the Honorable Ex-Mayor of Hialeah, Julio A. Robaina. Dr. Fluney, you reported, served on the City of Hialeah Education Advisory Council. I was just wondering if she pops up anywhere with all these fine jobs and salaries for the taking. Or if you would just say hello from us, and tell her no hard feelings. Hope the IRS wasn't too rough on her.


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.