Friday, March 26, 2010

Computer Files For Miami Budget Deleted

American Scofflaw
Yeah right!!!

The X-Files, for those who do not love sci-fi, is an old show that always had Agents Mulder and Scully searching the paranormal to unravel the mystery of the week. They would have had a heck of a time at Miami City Hall.

The latest mystery popped up Tuesday. Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said, "Today we learned someone erased a lot of budget files from the city." Critical budget files erased--and apparently on purpose the mayor said--at a time when the city is swimming red ink and its finances are being probed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

A frustrated Regalado told me, "These are the kinds of things that cannot continue to happen in the city of Miami. It is a climate where everybody is trying to save their job."

The mayor said Miami Police have been asked to investigate, and city officials have started their own internal probe. The good news—the mayor said the computerized budget files can be recovered. The bad news—he apparently has another headache diverting attention from exploding union pension costs, dropping property values, and a budget that is cracking under the strain of both.

Miami Budget Director Michael Boudreaux was fired Monday at the start of a promised shake-up amidst questions about multi-million dollar money transfers from restricted city funds that may have made the city's budget picture look far rosier than reality.

No fingers of blame are being pointed at Boudreaux over the mystery of the erased budget files. His lawyer, Michael Pizzi, said they better not be. Pizzi said, "Neither myself nor my client has been contacted about that. He knows nothing about that."

Pizzi added that his client will sue the city over his abrupt firing. He added, "I say Michael Boudreaux is a scapegoat and a sacrificial lamb for decisions made by the former mayor and commission, by the former manager and upper level staff."

It all adds up to more drama for elected city leaders, who vow to stick together. Miami commissioner Francis Suarez said, "I think the overarching message is we are acting as a unified body, (with) the commission in cohesion with the mayor to immediately make sure this runaway budget does not get out of control."

Stay tuned. In the X-Files the writers knew how each week's drama would play out. There is no such luck in Miami these days for a mayor and commissioners who may be in for a far rockier ride than they ever imagined.

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