Auditor Examines Millions Miami Int'l Airport Pays Miami-Dade County

MIA's reimbursements are higher than those at any other large airport except San Francisco.


MDAD pays the county through direct payments billed from departments and indirect payments that are a percentage of the department's total payroll. Two years ago, a consultant reduced the amount the department was paying in indirect costs. Today, that's about $9.9 million -- 8 percent of total payroll.

But as those indirect costs have been cut, direct payments have risen sharply.

During the fiscal year 2002-03, MDAD paid the county $20.9 million. Two years later that rose to $30.6 million.

It's expected to remain the same in 2005-06, not including expenses for fire services, which are run by the county.

Jim O'Reilly, president of the American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees Local 1542, which represents many MIA employees, is upset MDAD is scrutinizing its employees. The problem, he said, is that the airport pays too much for consultants -- on top of the money spent reimbursing the county.

MDAD spent $75.1 million on consultants in 2004, including the $31.4 million it reimbursed the county.

"There is an excessive amount of money being spent on outside contractors ripping the county off," O'Reilly said. "They should have county employees doing the work."

He also blamed MIA's massive construction program for driving up costs.

"What's costing us a fortune is not that we aren't doing enough business. It's the out of control growth at the airport -- and now the debt is coming due. It's a shame that every time we get in a financial crisis, we take it out on the employees."

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