City of Phoenix STILL giving out raises

| September 27 2012

From Sal DiCiccio’s Facebook page:

Phoenix has been giving out raises every single year and is poised to give out more this year.  According to an Arizona Republic story (http://tinyurl.com/8rl8c6j) that ran last weekend, government staff have been given 4.8 percent in pay raises (merit and longevity) every single year of this Great Recession.

You are now wondering if that was a typo…well, no, it is true. While you and your family suffered, it turns out government paid itself.  And, I almost forgot, you are still stuck with the food tax.

Remember, the food tax foisted with only a 24-hour notification was pushed so that police and fire could be saved.  That turned out not to be too true, didn’t it?

My complaint is not about job performance or effort. We have thousands of great city employees who put in a decent day’s work. No, the problem is fairness.

Government continues to put itself first over taxpayers, the real bosses.  A little history:

•        Remember the 3.2 percent “big sacrifice” government made.  Well that turned out to be much different too.  It was a one-year, 1 percent pay cut.  That is right, a whopping 1 percent pay cut when you and your family took a minimum 25 percent pay cut.  Turns out the other one time 2.2 percent was out of furlough days (which means they don’t work) and other benefits.

•        During that same “sacrifice” year – and in every year before and after it – about half the employees continued to get pay raises (merit and longevity) averaging 4.8 percent (It’s worth noting that managers got no raises during the past few years and took furlough days.)

•        Through the Great Recession, city employee total compensation continued to climb every year, going from $80,347 in 2005 to $100,980 now, more than a 25 percent hike. Your family took a 25% or more decrease in this same time period.

•        While hundreds of thousands of Arizonans were losing their jobs in the recession, Phoenix let go no more than 15 employees, some of them part time.

•        Another story in the Republic talked about how our parks for our families were cut, streets and other capital improvements were sliced.  This was done on purpose. Not because there was a lack of funds but because these dollars were diverted to pay for higher compensation costs, now at a record high of $100,980 for over 14,000 employees. I will be doing a more in-depth analysis for you later on this subject.

Again, I don’t begrudge our dedicated employees a fair, living salary.  Fairness is the issue, not their effort. The above list doesn’t look like an equal sharing of the pain of our economic times.

The taxpayers who fund these raises went through a wholly different recession.

They lost jobs and took real pay cuts.  Some lost businesses, and a story a couple of months ago told of many small business owners working for nothing just to keep their enterprises afloat.

That’s a 100 percent pay cut, taken until times get better. Compare that to a 1 percent, one-time cut, with guaranteed job security and raises.

The city says we’re losing high performing employees because they haven’t had sufficient raises. We’ve seen no evidence of a mass exodus of city employees.

I understand the wish to be “fair” to managers and employees. But the group that’s gotten the short end of the “fair” stick these past years has been the taxpayers. It’s time to be fair to them.

 

My best to you and your family,

Sal DiCiccio
City of Phoenix
Councilman, District 6
602-262-7491
council.district.6@phoenix.gov

 

Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio represents District 6, which includes Ahwatukee, Arcadia, Biltmore, East Camelback and North Central. He can be reached at council.district.6@phoenix.gov (ask to receive his newsletter) or 602-262-7491.

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