Judge Sides With Sweetwater Mayor in Budget Fight
By Kluger Kaplan July 14, 2016
by Celia Ampel, Daily Business Review
Days after warning Sweetwater commissioners that the city will be broke by August, the mayor won court approval Monday to use his version of the budget.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Barbara Areces ruled that the commission had violated Florida law by balancing the budget with the anticipated proceeds from the sale of a real estate parcel that, at the time, hadn’t even been listed.
The budget the commission approved at a September meeting also reinstated salaries for city employees laid off by Mayor Orlando Lopez and excluded pay for Lopez’s hires in the west Miami-Dade suburb. Areces found the commission did not have the power to appoint or remove administrative employees reporting to the mayor.
“Basically, this mayor’s back in charge of the city, and they’re running off his tentative budget, which is a balanced budget,” said Alan Kluger of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine in Miami. Kluger and his colleagues Todd Levine and Jorge Delgado represented the mayor.
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