Commissioner Ken Russell Allocated $1.1M of American Rescue Plan
City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell has allocated up to $1.1 million dollars of District 2’s ARPA funding to provide a bonus payment to city employees who provided essential activities throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. An average payment of approximately $1000 will be made to more than 940 city employees in recognition of their vital efforts on behalf of Miami residents during one of the most trying times in the city’s history.
“Twenty percent of the City of Miami’s workforce engaged in essential work during Covid-19, working directly with constituents to help keep them safe with food deliveries, vaccine distribution, waste collection, and much more,” said Russell. “Our city could not have operated without our garbage workers, human service workers, and emergency dispatchers and I am proud to use my allocation of ARPA funding to give these general employees a well-deserved bonus.”
Miami is believed to be the first city in the State of Florida to direct ARPA funds directly to essential city workers. Russell’s resolution to provide these bonus funds was passed unanimously by the Miami City Commission on November 18th. Payments are expected to be expedited by the end of 2021.
“This gives us a great sense of appreciation and pride,” said Sean Moy, President of the Miami General Employees Local 1907. “We feel that we’ve been restored and treated with equity. We are very thankful that Commissioner Russell has recognized our service and gone the extra mile to secure this bonus for us.”
Under the federal CARES Act, Police and Fire departments were compensated for working through the pandemic on the front lines; however, the impact of the virus also affected general employees working to protect Miami’s residents on the front lines.
“My resolution provides a 1.7% one-time bonus to over 940 employees, which will mean an average bonus of $1000 for each city employee. My hope is that this money will help our city employees and their families as we all continue to navigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Russell.
According to the federal legislation’s Interim Final Rule, ARPA funds may be used to provide premium pay to eligible workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the ARPA legislation provides that any premium pay should prioritize compensation of those lower income eligible workers that perform essential work.
The premium pay must also be entirely additive to a worker’s regular rate of wages and other remuneration and may not be used to reduce or substitute for a worker’s normal earnings. Given these terms, Russell identified the nearly 1000 City of Miami employees eligible for premium pay. Through his District 2 allocation, Russell is funding a 1.7% one-time, non-pensionable bonus to essential workers in over 80 different job classifications, including garbage collectors, human service employees, and emergency dispatchers.
Based on ARPA regulations, premium pay may be provided retrospectively for work performed at any time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic where those workers have yet to be compensated adequately for work previously performed.