Friday, June 25, 2010

Miami Dade Budget Cuts

After reading Matthew Haggman’s article in the Miami Herald, I am appalled that with all of Miami-Dade County’s cuts to jobs, spending and services over the past year, employees and officials still receive excessive benefits. I understand that the benefits subsidize their salaries but the amount that some receive is outrageous.

For example, County Manager George Burgess receives a $101,787 benefit package which in my opinion is not really necessary when his salary is $326,340. The median income in Miami-Dade is $43,921; it is hard to justify a $428,127 salary package. Court Manager George Burgess makes more than 7 times the median income of Miami which is declining due to job loss.

I’m not trying to pick fun at George Burgess but at what point is it enough? We have to keep our officials accountable and sometimes that means sacrificing a brand spanking new luxury sedan for a more economical option.

Car allowances have been a debate issue for so long and it still has yet to be resolved. In the state of our economy, we need our commissioners, mayor and other Miami-Dade county officials to step up to plate and lead by example. If the budget is so bad that people’s jobs will no longer receive funding, how can Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez expect tax payer’s dollars to go towards a brand new 2010 BMW 550i Gran Turismo sedan when our city is cutting teachers? Get a Chrysler, Ford or GM and help stimulate our national economy for a portion of the cost.

It’s time to lead by example and prove that the public’s best interest is at heart. Currently, public sentiment towards our government is low and to regain public trust our leaders have to make sacrifices just as other sectors. According to the Miami Herald article, Mayor Alavarez expressed, “erasing the perk for all county leaders is a legitimate question at a time of economic austerity, but he's not ready to make the leap unless others do too.” A mayor is like a president, a leader chosen by his constituents. Imagine if President Obama said that. It’s like a campaign based on, “Yes, people are struggling but I won’t create change” Who would support that? We need a leader who will take the initiative in making decisions and not make excuses for indecision; by not acting a decision is made. Stand by decisions and deal with the repercussions.

These budget cuts will have grave repercussions on the lives of the people that use services that are funded by the county budget. Now more than ever is the time for our government officials to rise up and start to deal with these budget cuts. For it’s the actions that are taken right now that will have an effect on our future. We all, not only the government, need to take the necessary actions to stop or at least lower the impact of cuts to the budget. It’s the kids, teacher, survivors of violence and anyone who utilizes social services whether through government or organization that will be impacted. I’ve taken it upon myself to do something that could benefit my community. I signed the Penny Wise Campaign in order to show county leader that there are constituents like myself that cuts to the budget show not impact the social services that save people’s live.