Coral Gables commission beefs up security at first post ‘assault’ meetingPolitical Cortadito

Police union contract could finally be passed

After a short but dramatic impasse, the contract for Coral Gables Police — who have been without a contract since October — will be discussed and, possibly, approved at the city commission meeting Tuesday. But the additional police presence will not be there for that.

Sources told Political Cortadito that there will be more security than usual at Tuesday’s meeting following the incident last week where Mayor Vince Lago reportedly threatened City Manager Amos Rojas during a meeting in a conference room at City Hall.

Police were called last Tuesday after Lago allegedly threw off his jacket, rolled up his sleeves and got into a fighting stance, challenging Rojas to put ’em up. An internal affairs investigation has been opened, according to Police Chief Ed Hudak, who also said that outside agencies would be involved.

That means it’s serious.

Read related: Coral Gables Internal Affairs check out mayor’s ‘assault’ incident at City Hall

There was a witness. Assistant City Attorney Albert Parjus was reportedly there and must have already provided a statement to the police. Hopefully, that was before Lago called Parjus to his office.

In any other situation, this kind of “investigation” wouldn’t take so long. It’s been a week. Either Lago threatened to beat up Rojas or he didn’t. The only reason this hasn’t been put to bed is because he is the mayor and has said that this is “political theater.” If so, he should be nominated for best male actor.

Because the threat, apparently, was serious enough to warrant additional police protection at the meeting.

Maybe Rojas should have gotten a restraining order instead. Because Lago has been spiraling downward and having public meltdown for months now. If the report about the City Hall “incident” is true, he could get violent at any moment.

And his two biggest targets sit to either side of him on the dais. How fast can an officer in the room get to the mayor before something bad happens?

And how long do we have to wait to find out what law enforcement determines happened last week? Will it happen after the new contract is approved?

Read related: Coral Gables FOP blasts police chief, mayor about 37 vacancies, low morale

The ratification of the bargaining agreement with Coral Gables Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #7 will provide the officers with a 3.5% raise in 2025 as well as a $3,000 lump sum, non pensionable one-time payment, payable after October of this year, that will have to be reimbursed if the officer leaves before September 2026. It also doubles the allowances for special units — like K-9, Marine Patrol, SWAT, bike patrol, etc (read: almost everybody) — from $75 to $150 biweekly and allowances for secondary units (read: everybody else) from $40 to $80.

This might have been what put the labor union at ease. They had been fighting the increases — which then totaled a whopping 19.8% over three years — because, they said, it only started to bring officers salaries up to par with other municipal departments. Political Cortadito reached out to FOP President Chris Challenger Tuesday morning but was unable to contact him.

In April, the FOP released a web video that called out the mayor and Hudak for, basically, lying about staffing at the department, which had 37 vacancies and a 20% shortage.

Does this mean that the FOP will stop criticizing the mayor?

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. at City Hall, 405 Biltmore Way.

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