Miami-Dade County

September 16, 2013

No cakewalk for birthday fund at Miami-Dade property appraiser’s office

What does it take to create a little fund to celebrate employee birthdays?

What does it take to create a little fund to celebrate employee birthdays?

Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera thought it’d be a piece of cake. No such luck.

It turns out he had to:

• Submit a three-page resolution (establishing the Employee Recognition Trust Fund) plus three pages of supporting documents to the County Commission.
• Get the commission’s approval.
• And then fight a four-page union complaint that says: no birthday cakes — or candles, or balloons, or streamers — without labor’s OK.

“Benefits have been awarded pursuant to the program, and the Employer intends to award additional bonuses or benefits in the future,” American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 199 warned on Aug. 29.

So far, Lopez-Cantera has used money from employee vending-machine sales to pay for four birthday celebrations — in May, June, July and August.

The first cake was purchased at Costco ($35.98 for chocolate and vanilla), the other three at BJ’s.

To Lopez-Cantera, the union’s action is just so much party-pooping.

“It is comical that the system requires taxpayers resources be spent on this complaint.”

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