Commissioners vote to axe 33 building employees, outsource department
A recent commission meeting turned ugly after Pembroke Pines officials voted to outsource the city’s Building and Zoning Department and lay off 33 employees.
Dozens of general employees and their families hissed, jeered and muttered obscenities to commissioners as officials scrambled to balance a near-$2.9 million shortfall tied to fewer permitting fee revenues.
Amid shouting matches between union employees and commissioners, one fact remained clear: officials agreed to stall layoffs only if bargaining unions would agree to concessions among its employees.
“Now we have to make some tough, draconian decisions to balance a $26 million deficit,” said Mayor Frank Ortis. “The union turned [the concessions] down. The idea was to make it hold and the union members didn’t want to compromise by our process. So we’re cutting.”
The city is also slammed with a $30 million overall budget deficit, blamed on property tax, hiked pension spending and a shrunken half-cent sales tax.
Commissioners could finalize the firings as soon as July 1, after voting to contract with Calvin, Giordano & Associates, a private engineering firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Homestead and West Palm Beach. Officials heard pitches from three shortlisted private outsourcers June 3 before tentatively approving Calvin, Giordano’s contract.
For more on this, please read the June 22 Pembroke Pines Gazette or visit www.sunsentinel.com/pembrokepines.