Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade clerk accepts union request to audit county’s health insurance reserves

Miami-Dade Clerk Harvey Ruvin announced Thursday he will conduct a financial audit to address concerns of several county unions that the administration is hiding a “slush” fund in a health insurance reserve account.

In a letter responding to a plea from police, healthcare, and water and sewer union chiefs for an independent review of the county’s Internal Service Fund, Ruvin said that even after being assured by the county that the fund has been properly handled, he will conduct an audit.

“The issue, in general, has been at the heart of a growing atmosphere of distrust, as reflected in the tone of the call for the audit,” Ruvin wrote, while acknowledging an audit cannot address policy decisions made by the mayor or the county commission.

Still, he said, “It can provide all parties with a greater comfort level and mutual confidence in the financial data as the county moves forward.”

Last week, incensed the county is carrying a $74 million surplus in its health insurance reserve account while asking union employees to continue contributing 5 percent of their base pay to health insurance costs, labor union chiefs John Rivera, Martha Baker and Emilio Azoy ratcheted up the rhetoric before a rowdy crowd outside County Hall as commissioners met inside.

Rivera, the police union head, Baker, who represents some Jackson Memorial Hospital workers, and Azoy, from water and sewer, noted that the surplus is $42 million more than the minimum that county-hired health insurance consultants have advised is necessary.

County Budget Director Jennifer Moon said surpluses are carried over each year to help avoid potential health insurance budget shortfalls that could result in benefit cuts.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez said last week said it would be “totally irresponsible” to do away with the 5 percent insurance contribution because it would mean adding $33.5 million on top of an existing $50 million general fund budget gap heading into September’s budget hearings.

Deputy Mayor Ed Marquez said Thursday that his office spoke with Ruvin about his decision to conduct the audit. “Our administration is pretty transparent. Whatever he needs, we’ll be happy to provide it,” Marquez said.

The unions asked Ruvin, the county’s clerk of the courts, to conduct the audit because he is an elected official and independent of the mayor’s office.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category