Phoenix Council Subcommittee Recommends Ways to Eliminate Pension Spiking

Categories: City Hall

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New Times

Phoenix officials this week wrapped up the last in a series of four public meetings to gather input on how to fairly eliminate the bank-breaking practice of pension spiking.

The City Council Pension Fairness and Spiking Elimination Ad Hoc Subcommittee unanimously recommended preventing employees from using the following streams of revenue to bolster pension payouts: communication and transportation allowances, retirement contribution reimbursement, Public Safety Enhanced Regular Compensation payments (which includes money for uniform allowances), and future payouts for unused sick time and vacation leave.

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Mayor Greg Stanton, Councilman Bill Gates Won't Approve Contract for Next City Manager Allowing Pension Spiking

Categories: City Hall

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Ed Zuercher, David Cavazos
Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilman Bill Gates released a statement -- just before the Phoenix City Council considered the appointment of an Interim City Manager -- pledging not to approve a contract that would permit the next city manager to engage in pension spiking.

That is, the two said they would not support a contract that allows for unused sick and vacation time to be a part of the calculation for long-term pension payouts.


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Phx Council Approves $2.5 Million to Help Transform Hotel Into Affordable Housing

Categories: City Hall

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Travel Inn, 2011.

Phoenix officials approved on Wednesday a loan of up to $2.5 million that will help transform Travel Inn Apartments into 90 studio apartments for homeless and low-income individuals.

Part of the loan agreement ensures that 38 of those remain earmarked as affordable rental units for at least 40 years.

The money to rehabilitate the vacant hotel comes from the HOME program, the federal government's largest block grant designed to create affordable housing. Each year, states, cities and towns across the country receive about $2 billion from the feds.


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Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos Leaving Phoenix, Taking Job in California

Categories: City Hall

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phoenix.gov
David Cavazos at Sky Harbor International Airport
Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos announced on Thursday that he is calling it quits in Phoenix.

Cavazos, the first Latino to serve as city manager, has brokered a deal to become the next city manager in Santa Ana, a community in Orange County with about 300,000 residents.

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Phoenix City Council Adopts Ethics Policy for Elected Officials, Details Still In the Works

Categories: City Hall

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The Phoenix City Council adopted on Tuesday what officials are saying is one of the "toughest ethics policies in the nation," a set of rules that guide how elected representatives conduct themselves in office.

Although some of the details are still being worked out, policy provisions will require elected officials to report gifts valued at more than $50, including meals paid for by lobbyists.

Council members directed city staff formulate a proposal that would outright ban most gifts, but allow for some exceptions. The policy also calls for the formation of an Ethics Commission comprised of judges to investigate alleged violations, and adds some teeth with penalties for violations.

Of course, the harshest penalty would be removing the offending official from office.


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Pastor Warren Stewart's Campaign Touts Thousands Turned Out for Teleconference Town Hall

Categories: City Hall

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Pastor Warren Stewart
Tuesday night, Warren Stewart's campaign says it logged a first in Phoenix politics -- a town hall where participants called in and asked questions, listened to a few stump speeches, and voted on a few questions asked by the moderators.

Stewart is seeking a seat on the Phoenix City Council, and he's running against Lawrence Robinson, a law professor and member of the Roosevelt School Board, and Kate Widland Gallego, a business liaison for SRP (who has taken a leave of absence from her job) and wife of Arizona lawmaker Ruben Gallego.

See also: Black Leaders in Phoenix Struggle to Retain Power in a District They've Historically Controlled
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Phoenix Seeks Plans for Downtown Observation Tower; "The Pin" Would Rise 420 Feet and Charge Fee for Visitors

Categories: City Hall

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Phoenix is getting serious about a proposal for a 420-foot observation tower in the downtown area.
The city of Phoenix is taking a step toward the possibility of having a 420-foot observation tower built with private funds in the downtown district, issuing a call for detailed plans for the project.

Last week, the online news site www.theatlanticcities.com wrote about Phoenix's recent issuance of an "RFP" -- for non-wonks, that's a request for proposal -- for "development and operation of entertainment and tourism attractions." Los-Angles-based writer Guy Horton speculated that the RFP meant that Phoenix was getting serious about the tower, nicknamed "the Pin" by its designers. Eric Johnson, the economic development program manager for Phoenix, agrees with that assessment.

See also: Guggenheim-Inspired Observation Tower Proposed for Downtown Phoenix

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Pension Reform: Phoenix Voters Adopt Changes Expected to Save Taxpayers Nearly $600 Million Over Next Two Decades

Categories: City Hall

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Phoenix voters overwhelmingly approved a proposal to reform the city's pension plan -- a plan city officials say will save taxpayers about $600 million over the next 23 years.

According to unofficial results, 71,086 voters, or 79.54 percent, said yes to Proposition 201, compared to 18,284 voters, or 20.46 percent, who opposed the measure.

A related pension-reform measure that changes how the city invests pension funds also was approved with 68,029 yes votes (77.17 percent) and 20,130 no votes (22.83 percent).

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Greg Stanton, Phoenix Mayor, Unveils Gun-Buyback Program in State of the City Address

Categories: City Hall

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Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
An anonymous donor has pledged $100,000 to Arizonans for Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization, to host in May a gun buyback in Phoenix and destroy the firearms.

The Mayor's Office and the Phoenix Police Department are working with a nonprofit agency to take guns out of circulation.

"I think this is a great program to save people's lives," Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia said during press conference on Thursday after Mayor Greg Stanton announced the program in his State of the City address. "We'll never be able to measure that. But I can attest to the fact that . . . one weapon can change a person's life, or end a life, immediately."

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Phoenix City Council Approves LGBT and Disability Anti-Discrimination Measure

Categories: City Hall

After hours of debate, the Phoenix City Council voted 5 to 3 to approve a measure that expands the city's anti-discrimination measure to include members of the LGBT and disabled community.

Councilmen Sal DiCiccio, Jim Waring and Bill Gates voted against the hotly contested measure.

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