Chief Lenny’s Loyalty Rewards Program

More perksWhen it comes to requesting public records from the City of North Miami, I’ve learned that if at first you don’t succeed, bug the crap out of them.  If they don’t want you to find out something, do not be deterred.  Just keep asking.  Be persistent.  Eventually you’ll get what you want.

And sometimes, you might just get lucky.

For instance, several months ago, sources in the North Miami Police Department told me that Assistant Chief Larry Juriga filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after accidentally hearing former City Manager Aleem Ghany call him a “racist.”

Imagine that.

In order to make this complaint go away, I was told that Aleem paid Assistant Chief Juriga an approximate amount of $24,990.00, which is just shy of the $25,000.00 limit the City Manager is authorized to spend without requiring approval from Mayor and Council.

This lead was too good not to follow.

So on October 8, 2015 I made the following request:

“I would like a copy of the settlement agreement made between the City of North Miami and Assistant Chief Lawrence Juriga with respect to the EEOC complaint made by Assistant Chief Juriga against City Manager Aleem Ghany.”

I was advised by Assistant Clerk Rafael Pedron that “pursuant to F.S. 119.0713, all complaints and other records in the custody of any unit of local government which relate to a complaint of discrimination relating to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, marital status, etc. are exempt.”

At least the City didn’t deny that such a complaint existed.  Just that I wasn’t getting my hands on a copy.

Nevertheless, I wrote back to Rafael and quoted F.S. 119.0713 in its entirety, highlighting the part which states that such documents are only exempt until the file is closed.

In addition, I also asked for a copy of any check that may have been issued to Assistant Chief Juriga “in the approximate amount of $24,000.00.”

Mr. Pedron wrote back, again denying my request but advising me to direct any questions to the City Attorney.

Per his advice, I sent an email on October 28, 2015 to Interim City Attorney Roland Galdos explaining my predicament.  Mr. Galdos wrote back, still insisting that “the matter is pending closure by the federal agency holding jurisdiction over this matter.”

I still have not received those records, but here’s the crazy part.  When the Police Department filled an entirely different public records request that I recently made, I inadvertently received the answer to my earlier questions.

On December 22, 2015, I requested a list of the salaries earned by all members of the North Miami Police Department’s Command Staff in 2015.  I received that request today a couple of hours after sending a reminder email to the Clerk’s office.

When I reviewed the salary that Assistant Chief Laurence Juriga earned last year I almost fell off my chair!

As THE  highest paid member of the Executive Command Staff (even more than the Chief himself!), in 2015 Assistant Chief Juriga earned a “Total Salary & Benefits” of $167,026.84.

HUH?

Curiously, I noted that Mr. Juriga received a “Retro” payment of $24,990.00:

Juriga Salary

SERIOUSLY?

No wonder the City of North Miami couldn’t produce a check payable to Mr. Juriga as I had requested.  He was never given a separate check in settlement of his EEOC complaint against the City Manager.  It was simply included in his annual salary as a lump sum “retro” payment.

Because this payment of $24,990.00 was just below his discretionary spending limit of $25,000.00, Aleem Ghany was able to circumvent approval of the Mayor and Council.

The Mayor and Council mostly likely had no idea that Aleem clandestinely hid this Hush-Money Payment in Juriga’s 2015 annual salary and labeled it as “retro” pay.

Besides, it’s not Aleem’s money, so what the hell?

As for the rest of the Command Staff, check out some of these pay scale disparities:

For starters, Police Chief Leonard Burgess gifted himself with a “Supplement Pay” of $6,280.88, bringing his 2015 “Total Salary & Benefits” to $143,648.49.

Major Annmarie Cardona, hired in 1989, was the highest paid Major, earning “Total Salary & Benefits” of $128,662.36.

Major Robert Bage, hired in 1999, received a “Supplement Pay” of $5,168.48, bringing his 2015 “Total Salary & Benefits” to $128,342.96.

Chief Lenny’s original choice for Assistant Chief, Franzia Brea, hired in 2011, earned “Total Salary & Benefits” in the amount of $121, 975.86.  (It should be noted that Major Brea is also in charge of the incompetently run NMPD communications center.  We already see how well that’s going.)

Major Trevor Shinn, hired in 1989, earned “Total Salary & Benefits” of $121,523.70.

Major Neal Cuevas, hired in 1975, earned “Total Salary & Benefits” of $115,064.79.

Wait, WHAT?

How is it that Major Neal Cuevas, who has been continuously employed with the North Miami Police Department for FORTY ONE YEARS, makes far less than any of the other four Majors?

Even more astounding, Major Cuevas earned NEARLY SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS LESS than Major Brea, who has only been with the North Miami Police Department for four years!

Despite the fact that all the Majors have the SAME RANK AND PAY CLASSIFICATION, Cuevas earned $13,597.57 LESS than the highest paid Major.  In fact, he even earned less than three of the lower ranked six Commanders.

That is REALLY messed up!

Equally unfair is the fact that Assistant Chief Gary Eugene (a/k/a Chief Lenny’s Red Headed Step Child), who is in the SAME EMPLOYEE CLASSIFICATION as Lenny’s other Assistant Chief, earned a “Total Salary & Benefits” of only $96,286.30!

This means that Assistant Gary Eugene earned $70,740.54 – OR ALMOST 43% – LESS – than Assistant Chief Larry Juriga!

WTFFFFF????

If that’s not insulting enough, Assistant Chief Gary Eugene earned less than any other member of the North Miami Police Department’s Executive Command Staff.

Adding insult to injury, Gary Eugene earned less than ALL of the department’s six Commanders – A FULL TWO RANKS BELOW HIM!

Talk about DISRESPECT!

Seriously, what is going on at the NMPD?

Oh, and in case anyone is interested about the salaries of the Commanders, here they are:

  • Commander Walter Sidd, hired 1989, earned $122,456.58.
  • Commander Scott Croye, hired in 1993, earned $115,585.92.
  • Commander Timothy Belcher, hired in 1992, earned $115,263.07.
  • Commander Patricia Fishel, hired in 1995, earned $114,383.26.
  • Commander Donald Blanchard, hired in 2002, earned $111,302.18.
  • Commander Angel Rivera, hired in 2000, earned $108,486.32.

Police Chief Leonard Burgess places absolutely no value on experience, training, length of service, or job performance.  Raises – and even promotions (yeah, wait for it!) – are purely arbitrary and at his whim.

Employees who have high ethical and professional standards, such Assistant Chief Eugene and Major Cuevas, get screwed over.

While Chief Lenny’s loyal sycophants (a/k/a “The Illuminati”) get all the spoils.

Besides, it’s not Lenny’s money, so what the hell?

North Miami residents deserve better.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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13 Comments

  1. Truthteller says:

    Juriga only got where he is because of two things, his daddy and his connection to the Dolfins. If he didn’t have his dad running security for the Miami Dolfins he would never be where he is. Juriga hooked up Chief Clint Shannon with the Dolfins and payback for his favor is promotion. Shannon always took care of the illuminati because those were his boys.

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  2. ELLEN says:

    WHERE ARE THE AUTHORITIES? THIS CITY IS ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC!!! This is blatant discrimination and stupidity.

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  3. Makes Sense says:

    I asked Chief Lenny about this in the parking lot this morning. He said his wife is Haitian and that he was giving out gift cards. Makes sense to me.

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  4. Omar says:

    This should be reprinted in the Herald. Wait until Scott Galvin gets wind of this. Wow!

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  5. Big Bag Of Ding Dongs! says:

    They also don’t tell you they make much more stealing all the extra duty jobs from the patrol officers who are barely making it ! As long as u stay under the Chiefs desk you will always have it good at North Miami ! If you are honest and a hard worker you will get nothing. All them making very nice salaries and the city won’t even approve a 2 percent raise for patrol and detective units. Must be nice to give yourself and your cronies a raise whenever you fell like it or file bogus EEOC complaints to get a bribe!

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  6. Galvin? Please.. says:

    Everyone talks about Scott Galvin like he’s some corruption fighting hero. He doesn’t care. Just because he get a his panties all up in a bunch when something doesn’t go his way, doesn’t mean he’s going to do anything about this. He already knows and doesn’t care. He likes Chief Lenny and worse he likes Juriga. That’s why things are the way they are. Truth is Eugene will eventually be the next Chief. That will be when things will finally change. Ms. Kinzle, I’m glad you’re exposing the truth.

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  7. Omar says:

    Say what you will about Galvin. He’s the best thing NoMi has goin’!Wish we could clone him for greater balance.

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  8. After much thought. Though i am not a labor law expert, but a man whom has worked his way through life on merit. I think the employees of NM need some help. The only help i can offer is some info for them to utilize and become familiar. Federal Laws that can protect them:
    EEOC equal employment opportunity commision
    USCA US CIVIL RIGHTS ACT
    FOIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
    EPA equal pay act
    They would do well to become familiar with these federal laws.
    Good luck.

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  9. […] I mentioned in my previous column, the settlement payment was to be issued in two checks, one to Juriga for $24,990.00, and the other […]

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  10. […] his department’s mishandling of police calls, his refusal to to take responsibility, his blatant discrimination and disrespect of his Haitian-American Assistant Chief, and his latest gun-in-the-lobby scandal, are all problems […]

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  11. Prem says:

    Once that file is “closed” interested readers want to see what he really complained about. Being called racist sounds in no manner cause for such a hush-payment.

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    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      I posted the document on a later blog, but here’s the link so you can view it directly: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BySwjQWftqNuYjQwVFp5TjhZRlNzY25oOHdobUVLQ1FjWHJV/view?usp=sharing

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  12. […] in the North Miami Police Department (and possibly the entire county), is STILL receiving the lowest salary of Chief Lenny’s entire Command […]

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