Umpire Not Paid

(WSVN) - We all love a paycheck, and we all love to get it on the day it’s supposed to be handed to us. But what if you didn’t get it when you expected? Is that legal? The answer may surprise you in tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Julio Sanchez: “These are some of my favorite rums. Mount Gay.”

Two things make Julio Sanchez smile, and he says those two things tell you where he’s from.

Julio Sanchez: “I’m Cuban, so that’s what got me collecting bottles of Bacardi.”

Julio now has 150 different bottles of rum from all over the world.

Julio Sanchez: “You name it. From Curaçao to Suriname. From California, Hawaii.”

And since Julio is from Cuba, his second hobby is no surprise.

Julio Sanchez: “I played baseball all my life since I was, like, 4 years old. Typical Cuban.”

When he injured his knee, Julio had to give up playing, but he didn’t have to give up the game.

Julio Sanchez: “I’m an umpire at Tropical Park, and that takes almost every night, Monday through Thursday. I don’t do Fridays because otherwise they’re going to kill me. My wife would kill me.”

Four nights a week, having fun.

Julio Sanchez: “I always tell them I wear special contacts for umpiring, just to bug them, and they laugh at me.”

But getting paid for umpiring is no laughing matter.

Julio Sanchez: “The county, they pay you every two weeks, but in the last five years, it’s been very difficult to get paid in a timely manner.”

The umpires at Tropical Park are paid by Miami-Dade County, and when Julio says he doesn’t get paid in a timely manner, he isn’t joking.

Julio Sanchez: “It’s been since May 15th, last time we got paid. They’re behind already almost three months, it’s gonna be? Right now, it’s probably $800 or $900.”

The money for umpiring is nice for Julio, but for some of the other guys, it’s necessary.

Julio Sanchez: “We do it for fun, but other guys are retired, and some of them need the money. They actually live off of this.”

All the guys love umpiring, or they wouldn’t stand in the heat for three hours a night. But waiting months to get paid is what’s leaving them steaming.

Julio Sanchez: “We have a contract that says you have to get paid every two weeks. I don’t want anything extra special, nothing. Just pay us. That’s it.”

Well, Howard, can the county wait months to pay them?

Howard Finkelstein: “Legally, your employer can set the time frame for your paychecks, but the umpires have an agreement that requires they be paid every two weeks. If a county official cannot cut through the red tape, the umpires can go to small claims court to get their money. And, by the way, Miami-Dade County has a law that says, if you do not get paid on time like the umpires, they have to pay interest while you wait for that money.”

We contacted the Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation, and they couldn’t have been any helpful. George Mora told us the delays come from the steps it takes to cut a check. The umpires’ time sheets go to Tropical Park. They send them to Parks and Recreation to be checked, and then they are sent to County Finance to pay the umpires.

To solve the problem, they’re going to do two things: Parks and Recreation will be taken out of the process, and instead of the time sheets being processed every two weeks, they’ll be sent weekly from Tropical Park to Finance. That should get the money to the umpires much more quickly.

Julio Sanchez: “I got paid for all my back games.”

Julio got all his money. The county fixed the paycheck problem after that one call to Help Me Howard.

Julio Sanchez: “Beyond happy. They solved all my issues, and everything is working great now. I am so ecstatic about it. It’s incredible.

We get some Help Me Howards where there is a bad guy, but not in this case. Parks and Recreation found out about the problem and fixed it, and they are checking to see if their ordinance requires them to pay the umpires interest for the money they were waiting to get.

Striking out trying to solve your problem? Ready to knock it out of the park? Pitch it to us. We’ll take a swing at it, and hopefully it will be a real hit.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7

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