Subtitle: UTD and MDCPS knew within a month of filing by expert testimony their lawsuit was pure hollywood show.
If you didn’t know, teachers’ “union,” United Teachers of Dade (better, “Untied Teachers of Dade”) filed a lawsuit in December 2014 against Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez for “underfunding the Value Adjustment Board (VAB),” the board established to review property values so that accurate taxes – upon which the school board receives its “required local effort” portion of its budget – might be collected.
MDCPS hired 2 expert lawyers – former Federal Judge Honorable Thomas Scott and Mr. Edward G. Guedes, a highly respected and experienced constitutional attorney with the Weiss Serota law firm – to analyze the merits of UTD’s case.
What they found was that UTD was a joke and wasting its members’ money.
I wrote about this fiasco here:
http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=754 where I wrote:
“December 5th, 2014, United Teachers of Dade filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County against Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez…on the grounds that he isn’t funding his office of Property Appraiser sufficiently to raise sufficient property tax to properly fund education…”
My analysis of this was: “This Lawsuit introduces and paves the way for [Fed’s] successor at UTD, his current Secretary, KARLA HERNANDEZ-MATS”
“ Either way, it is not the teachers’ union job (UTD) to sue the city. It is the statutory responsibility of the School Board to raise the millage on property tax sufficiently to pay their employees and operational costs.
UTD should have sued MDCPS multiple times for failure to do this.
The fact that UTD is suing the city shows me that it is once again an operational extension of the MDCPS system to do the “dirty” work, protecting those in power from a public “black eye” of raising taxes.”
These conclusions that I wrote about almost EXACTLY 1 year ago, before MDCPS retained the high cost retired Federal Judge and his colleague for their legal analysis below. See http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=754
Before I highlight the most damning excerpts from the legal analysis of UTD’s BUMBLING, RIDICULOUS LAWSUIT that just begs the question: “WHY THE HELL ARE YOU MEMBERS OF THIS COUNTRY CLUB FOR IDIOTS THROWING YOUR MONEY DOWN THE SEWER?”
I include a quote from defendant & mayor Gimenez regarding his own legal analysis of the joke of a lawsuit:
“This unfortunate and frivolous lawsuit is political in nature and fails to recognize state and local laws.
Unfortunately, UTD leaders did not participate or ask to be invited to the various meetings we have had throughout the last year at both County Hall and in the Superintendent’s office. Had they participated, UTD leaders would understand that the Property Appraiser is a constitutional officer elected countywide whose budget is approved by the Florida Department of Revenue – a state agency. Furthermore, the Value Adjustment Board is a creation of the State of Florida and not under the jurisdiction of Miami-Dade County.” – Mayor Gimenez, http://www.miamidade.gov/mayor/releases/2014-01-12-statement-on-united-teachers-of-dade-complaint.asp
More Damning is MDCPS own legal analysis of the merits of the case:
” Preliminary observations as to the Lawsuit:
What becomes immediately apparent from even the most cursory review of the complaint is that UTD has failed to name an indispensable party to the Lawsuit, namely, the County Commission. The Lawsuit, at its base, urges the court to compel Mayor Gimenez to “appropriate sufficient funds in the budget to adequately fund and staff the VAB Process.” However, such relief, absent the participation of the County Commission, is illusory; since any amounts allocated through the budgeting process are subject to final approval or rejection by the County Commission. Courts do not render advisory opinions based on hypothetical circumstances. ”
“At present, though, with only Mayor Gimenez named as the defendant, we do not believe it likely that Chapter 164 would be deemed applicable…Additionally, section 164.1051, which addresses the scope of Chapter 164, provides exemplars of disputes that are subject to the dispute resolution mechanisms of the chapter. All of them are decisions ultimately the responsibility of the governing bodies of governmental entities, rather than of any single governmental official.”
“More fundamental problems with the Lawsuit:
Unfortunately, there are other more fundamental problems with the Lawsuit that seriously undermine its viability. As the complaint implicitly recognizes, the legal remedy available to compel an official to take specific action is an action for mandamus relief. An action for writ of mandamus seeks to compel a government official to perform an act that he or she has a clear legal duty to perform…if performance of the act requires the exercise of discretion or judgment, mandamus is not available as a remedy…
…The Florida Supreme Court has recognized that…even when a county commission’s funding determination is wholly arbitrary and capricious, mandamus will not lie to compel that specific funding be provided; at most, a budget may be remanded for further consideration in light of concerns that the funding decision was arbitrary and capricious.””
“In the Lawsuit, UTD has failed to identify a specific statutory or constitutional provision that mandates that Mayor Gimenez fund the VAB at a specific level of funding.”
“[UTD's] reliance on Article IX, Sec. 1 of the Florida Constitution is misplaced… Article IX, section 1, imposes no clear and unequivocal legal duty, whether general or specific, on Mayor Gimenez (or, for that matter, even the County Commission) to ensure adequate funding for school districts, or to fund any County office or department the operation of which might conceivably and indirectly have an impact on the Legislature’s ability to fulfill its constitutional obligations.”
“the Lawsuit [does not] state a viable cause of action.”
“UTD conspicuously fails to identify at what level the VAB process should be funded in order to avoid the VAB Problem. Would an increase of five hearing officers suffice? Would ten? The absence of any meaningful criteria to answer that question merely highlights why mandamus would not be an effective or available remedy. If UTD is not prepared to indicate what the appropriate funding level is supposed to be, then how could the preparation of a corresponding budget be purely ministerial in nature?”
“l Even in this most generic sense, the Lawsuit may not align with the reality of the VAB budgeting process.
3 While the complaint indicates that the Mayor has the duty to “supervise collection of revenues,” Complaint at 4, it fails to explain how such a duty requires that he fund the VAB at a particular level.
4 Morever, the complaint provides no guidance as to what level of adequate funding would be necessary to ensure that the VAB Problem ceases to occur. This lack of specificity becomes relevant to the viability of any mandamus relief. See Section B(3), infra.
5 The Lawsuit is analogous to suing the President of the United States because he has failed to adequately budget for the proper functioning of a particular department under his direction and control when the power to actually fund that department rests exclusively with the United States Congress.
6 There may also be questions raised as to UTD’s standing, collectively, to bring the Lawsuit. At times, it appears that the complaint seeks relief on behalf of the School Board, even going so far as to refer to the “Plaintiff School Board.” Complaint at To 5, 21, 22, 30, 45. The individual plaintiff named indicates she is a teacher and taxpayer, but not a parent of a child enrolled in public schools. Usually, these lawsuits name individuals who are parents of school-age children.”