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Miami Officials Investigating Whether Kent Security Broke Living Wage Law
Ashley Wood

August 17, 2011
View the Original Article

Officials in Miami, Florida say they are investigating Kent Security, a private security firm that has been paid more than $358,000 this year in a taxpayer-funded contract. According to The Miami Herald, the city's procurement director, Kenneth Robertson, told the paper that his department is looking into Kent's payroll records to investigate whether the company is complying with Miami's Living Wage Ordinance.

Kent Security officers say that they were paid below the minimum wage set by the Ordinance for at least two years while working for the company. If the city's investigation finds that Kent has been paying less than the minimum wage, the company could be required to provide back pay to its employees, and could possibly pay further fines to the city of Miami or lose its contract.

Lidia Dinkova of The Miami Herald recently reported on the investigation and what it means to Kent security officers:

While the city's procurement office is investigating, Kent security guards like Edgar Dixon, 61, continue to struggle financially, and they say they have Kent to blame.

"We really need the city to step up and put pressure on Kent," said Dixon, of Coconut Grove. "Kent seems like they don't care. They don't realize that without us, they wouldn't be making any money."

[...] The bi-monthly checks Dixon gets seem to vanish after he takes care of his bare-essential expenses such as rent, car and insurance, and co-payments for his medicines.

"After I pay my bills, I don't have much left until the next pay period," Dixon said during a recent interview. "I only have about $40 to hold me until the next two weeks. And that's not enough to live off of."

Miami Commissioner Wilfredo Gort says the officers have his support to make sure they get the payments they're due. The officers say they just want their employer to follow the rules. They have scheduled a strike for today to urge the company to increase its wages and provide necessary training and benefits.

Read more about officers working to improve jobs in the security industry at http://standforsecurity.org/.