In an opinion released this week, a Miami city attorney questioned the legality of a hiring policy attached to an agreement for Miami Beckham United‘s proposed MLS stadium.
Earlier this month, Miami-Dade County approved an agreement to sell three acres of county-owned land in Overtown to Miami Beckham United, which is attempting to build a stadium for an MLS expansion franchise. One of the provisions in that agreement stipulates that Miami Beckham United must hire off-duty county police and paramedics to work inside the privately-owned stadium during events, leaving city personnel with assignments in the areas surrounding the venue.
This has become something of a conflict, as Miami has expressed concerns about whether the county can enforce the hiring of its employees within a privately-owned stadium that is located inside the city. In a legal opinion dated June 15 but released on Monday, Miami city attorney Victoria Méndez questioned if the policy was enforceable, and noted the advantage the county had as it worked to complete the agreement with Miami Beckham United.
Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez has expressed a willingness to work with city and county officials to resolve the differences, and some city officials have indicated that they want to have a solution sooner rather than later. More from The Miami Herald:
Miami-Dade negotiated a similar agreement with Miami at Marlins Park, where county first-responders get the off-duty shifts inside the county-owned stadium and their city counterparts work outside on the streets of Miami. [Commissioner Jose “Pepe’] Diaz wanted the same arrangement at Beckham’s privately owned venue, and pointed to the lack of parking garages at the 25,000-seat Overtown stadium as a reason two agencies would be needed to work games.
“People will be walking,” he said. “Safety is my top concern.”
Unions on both sides have advocated for their members to have access to the off-duty shifts, given the substantial pay boosts they can bring. Police departments coordinate the assignments, and charge as much as $100 per hour to deploy the officers.
Gimenez proposed reworking the stadium deal in 2018 as the soccer venture pursues zoning approvals from the city. But Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, who is leaving office in November due to term limits, criticized that approach, saying the delay isn’t warranted.
The City of Miami is expected to play a major part in the process down the road, as it will eventually have to consider whether to sign off on zoning changes that would allow construction of the privately-financed stadium to begin.
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