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County mayor who proposed firefighter cuts gets fire station named after him -- in city of Miami

@ChuckRabin

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, still at odds with firefighters upset at his proposed cuts during budget season, had a spanking new fire station named after him Saturday -- in the city of Miami.

And while the celebration was warm and fuzzy inside the firehouse in the city's Upper Eastside, it was anything but in the skies above. 

As Gimenez spoke, two light aircraft flew overhead with signs trailing behind. One read, inexplicably, "Gimenez is a flaming alpha hotel," the other, "Fire station Gimenez? What a hose job." 

Though the mayor is beloved in Miami for his 27 years of service, in which he worked his way up to fire chief and then city manager, his relationship with county firefighters has been a bit more tense. 

Firefighters are still upset about this summer's budget negotiations, when Gimenez warned of layoffs and cuts before commissioners agreed to wait for a $5.9 million federal grant the county has yet to receive. 

The mayor said it's looking more and more like the county is going to have to dig into emergency reserve to fill the budget hole, creating an even bigger hole for next year. 

But Saturday wasn't about that. It was a celebration of Gimenez, who still has plenty of support in Miami, including that of Fire Chief Maurice Kemp, who credits the mayor for launching his firefighting career. 

"They still love me here," Gimenez joked moments before the ceremony began.

--CHARLES RABIN

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chuck edelstein

An award from the city of bankrupty, it fits our book hating county mayor just fine.

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