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City Of Miami Could Owe Its Police Officers Millions After Court Ruling

Reuters/Joe Skipper

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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The Florida Supreme Court sided with Miami police officers Thursday, reversing a lower court ruling that upheld the city of Miami’s 2010 declaration of financial urgency.

The Supreme Court’s 4-1 ruling could result in a big pay day for retired police officers. The city slashed top pension earner’s paychecks from $150,000 to around 100,000 after the declaration. The officers asked the court to undo the pension changes and force the city to give back what they assert was improperly taken.

Miami’s controversial 2010 decision to file a declaration of financial urgency saved the city $100 million in labor expenses during a time that the city was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy, according to the Miami Herald.

The move capped pensions at 100,000 and cut police officer salaries by 12 percent in some instances.

The city’s Fraternal Order of Police filed a lawsuit immediately after the declaration, arguing that Miami officials failed to exhaust its options and violated standing procedure, rendering the declaration unconstitutional.

The declaration of financial urgency allowed the city to adjust contract terms with public employees if the city’s budget is threatened. At the time, city officials argued that if Miami didn’t make the cuts, it would have had to fire 1,300 city employees.

The union lost cases before the Public Employees Relations Commission and the First District Court of Appeals since originally filing the suit in 2010, but it’s victory in the state’s highest court could be disastrous for a city that is still recovering from recent budget woes.

The city elects a Mayor, and five commissioners that represent a district within the city limits.

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