Analysis Shows City Employees Could Determine Election Results

Analysis of the most recent (3/09) Goodyear City Council election results shows that due to a vote margin of about 1000 votes between a winner and a loser, a 500 vote swing could have changed the outcome. That is, subtract 500 votes from one candidate and apply those 500 votes to another candidate for a net change between those candidates of 1000 votes.

While they don’t all live in Goodyear, there are over 600 full time city of Goodyear employees. With their recent boycotts of a local dentist and restaurant, Goodyear police and fire department organizations (240 employees) have shown Goodyear residents that City of Goodyear employees are organized, militant, and willing to do whatever it takes to protect and extend their economic well being and promote their economic and political agendas, even if it means targeting local business owners who help generate the taxes that pay their salaries.

In light of these developments and the large number of City of Goodyear employees (621) verses the voting population (8,000) and low city council election margins of victory (about 1,000) in the March 2009 city council election, Goodyear residents should worry that future elections could be hijacked by those who have the most to gain by organizing to elect city leaders who will be most sympathetic to their demands.  Unlike private businesses, the decision makers of public institutions are selected by the voters.  In this case, organized, militant city employees whose numbers far exceed any reasonable level compared to the number of participating voters, might significantly impact the selection of elected city council members so that they are more likely to give in to employees’ economic demands than to represent the interests of the rest of the voting population.

Perhaps they already have.

It only takes a majority of four to pass agenda items before the Goodyear City Council.  Currently, one council member is a former city employee, a second owns a local retail business and could find herself compromised by boycotts similar to what police and fire have already organized, a third regularly shouts down citizens who he disagrees with who try to express their First Amendment rights at council meetings, and a fourth admits she does not understand some of the financial data.  I have yet to see any of these council members ask tough, well prepared questions that challenge city management assumptions during open city council meetings.

What should Goodyear taxpayers and voters do to prepare for the next Goodyear City Council elections and select council people who will fairly weigh the needs of voters verses city employees?

  1. Vote.
  2. Demand that your chosen candidate can read, understand, and question business and financial data and that they will spend the time to thoroughly understand and question any and all new operating and capital expenditures and that they recognize that it is THEIR responsibility, not just city management to make decisions about how much and what to spend.
  3. Demand that your candidate clearly states that they are willing to reduce city costs through layoffs or salary reductions no matter what department it affects, especially and including the police and fire department sacred cows.
  4. Demand that your candidate require that any city expenditures be properly compared to appropriate local, regional, and even national averages if necessary.

Goodyear is already broke but in spite of this, Goodyear City Council has just passed a budget that will spend more than they expect to collect in the coming year. In 2009 they spent $133 mil of your tax dollars or nearly $17,000 for each of the only 8,000 residents who voted last March.  They are all wishfully hoping for another once in a life time boom economy like we had 5 years ago to drag them out of this mess.

Voters do not yet realize how fragile this situation is. In the next election, voters should be sure to elect city council members who will keep your interests first, not those of city employees.

Here are the facts which describe and define this situation[1].

  1. Goodyear residents;                                                                                                            58,000
  2. Registered voters;                                                                                                                21,000
  3. 2009 city council election voters;                                                                                   8,000
  4. Minimum votes required to win a city council seat;                                                 3,000
  5. Next highest vote getter;                                                                                                      2,000
  6. Margin of victory over loser;                                                                                               1,000
  7. Number of switched votes to alter election outcome;                                                   500
  8. City of Goodyear full time employees;                                                                                  621
  9. City of Goodyear police and fire employees;                                                                      240
  10. Number of city council members required to control city council                                4

[1] All data taken from City of Goodyear sources and Goodyear CAFR or Budget data



10 Responses

  1. i have to disagree with your statistics and your logic.
    1. There 30,550 Registered Voters in Goodyear; 28,502 on Mar 9, 2009). (Check the Maricopa County Registrar;)
    2. In the 3/09/2009 election 4,022 (not 3000) votes were needed to be elected (50%+1). Wally Campbell received 3301 votes and lost to Joe Pizzillo 4420 to 3301 in the runoff. If all city employees were Goodyear Votersand had voted for Wally Campbell the results would have been the same.. As an aside, you also assumed there would be a 100% turnout of City Employees. A better one would be 1.5 of the average.

    • I won’t argue your current registered voters, my numbers were from the City of Goodyear Website.
      The rest of your comments confirm what I said.
      1. There was a 1,000 vote DIFFERENCE between Pizzillo and Campbell. A 500 vote swing changes the result.
      2. As for the primary election, same thing, the next LOWEST vote getter behind Pizzillo and Campbell to GET TO the run off was about 1,000 votes behind them.
      3. As for city employees voting, that is the entire point of the blog. They have demonstrated that they ARE organized so the rest of the voters beware.

      When I was on the Citizen’s Budget Committee, I found it odd how acomodating, perhaps DEFERENTIAL city council members were with city employees. Now I know why. They’re electing them.
      Thanks for confirming my analysis, read my blog again and I’m sure you’ll understand it better now.

  2. Howard:
    Thanks for posting my reply You are not using the precise vote totals. There was a 1119 vote difference between Campbell and Pizzillo in the May 19 runoff. A 1000 vote swing would not have changed the results Pizzillo would have won by 19 votes..
    In the March 10 Primary, neither Campbell nor Pizzillo would have requiched the 50% plus 1 threshold even if you added 1000 votes.
    Bobbbie Watts

  3. Why are you against the vote of city employees who live in Goodyear? Are they not worthy of the same voting rights afforded any other citizen? Or, do you believe these men and women are below you? You call them militant. Do you forget that many of these men and women, particularly those in public safety, have been or currently are members of our Armed Forces? Is that level of service militant?

    The fact remains that many of these men and women continue their dedicated service to this city out of loyalty and pride in their community. They chose to serve this community and deserve our respect and support. Militants are those OPPOSED to the government, which could include elected officials who use their office for a self-serving purpose.

    You take aim at the majority of council members, but neglect to include Mayor Cavanaugh, whose net worth from real estate dealings grew significantly after taking office. So much that he lives in home valued at seven figures. Mr. Cavaliere, who is oblivious to any city project not consisting of the Fine Arts and who, like a puppet, takes his cues from the Mayor.

    These elected officials and their supporters seek budget cuts and reductions in government not to save tax dollars, but to spend tax dollars on projects the city cannot afford.

    They wield their political influence in hopes of building a City Center, ASU Campus and Arts Center regardless the cost. The city is already bleeding from the $8millon dollar deficit the Mayor brought in the form of a spring training facility. Yet, they want to push the city into bankruptcy. Why? That’s the real question. What is the personal agenda of Mayor Cavanaugh and his supporters?

    I agree that the residents of Goodyear, including those who work for the city, need to wake up and vote. Vote to keep truly dedicated Council Members such as Lord, Osborne, Sousa and Pizzilo. Vote against those who share Cavanaugh’s self-serving interests.

    Fortunately, Cavanaugh is in his last term as Mayor. Perhaps the citizens can organize and vote for him one last time, in the form of a Recall Election. I can only hope this happens before he and his supporters cause more damage to this community. If not, you need not worry about city employees voting any longer. There won’t be any city employees left to vote. The Mayor will see to that.

  4. The best I can tell, your blog is yours and yours alone. You definitely could use some help.

    Usually, such blogs have finite goals. Your purpose appears to be to belittle as many public employees and elected officials as possible in the shortest length of time. You are definitely succeeding!

  5. You’re a scary individual, Howard ! I shudder to the thought of you taking over a Council seat.

    You have demonstrated through your own statements that you have a biased opinion towards our Police/Fire Dept’s, referring to them as “sacred cows.”

    You know what’s funny, I heard the Mayor, on record, during a Council Meeting, refer to them as “sacred cows” too !

    How could someone even believe that you would be objective as a Council Member, when it comes to voting on anything having to do with Police or Fire in the future. These are the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day, and sometimes lose their life (most recently seen in Chandler) to save ours and make our communities safe. These are the people who put their neck out for others, NOT YOU.

    I don’t think you’ll be coming to my home in the event of an emergency !

    Your partiality IS/WILL (BE) YOUR DOWNFALL !!

    You’re full of hot air if you claim not to share the Mayor’s agenda.

    Are you gonna deny NEVER meeting with him in the past outside of City Council Meetings and talking about City endeavors/personal agendas, which is a direct violation of Open Meeting Laws ??? BE CAREFUL before you answer that…we might already know the answer !

    • has contributed more name calling in his post. Thanks mike for a typical demonstration of what happens when people run out of good arguments in a debate, they call names as you have here.

      And not that it is any business of yours anyway, but I think I have met Mayor Cavanaugh 4 times. Once he was at a private party my wife and I attended, twice at Ground Control, once when he was nice enough to come listen to me play guitar there, and I met him for coffee one time I think after the first or second citizens budget committee meeting. I think he had watched the meeting tapes and was wondering where I was generating all my data from and I showed him it was mostly from the city web site. I also met with Joanne Osborne and Larry Lange regarding CBC data, so what?

      I think Cavanaugh is a nice person who is trying to do his best to serve his community just like all the other Goodyear council members. Unfortunately quite a few Goodyear council people are incompetent for the job they have. I don’t know what Cavanaugh’s “agenda” is so I’d have to have you explain that to me first.

      Open Meeting Laws? You should read up on that before you misstate as you did.
      here is a link you can read so you know what you are talking about.
      Note, two or more people have to be members of THE SAME PUBLIC BODY to violate them. I have never been a member of any public body with any Goodyear council person.

      And who is ‘we’ who “might already know the answer”? LOL

      As far as me running for council member? haha. I have not been a Goodyear resident long enough to run, but the more I see the Goodyear council in action (or inaction) the more appealing it is to me.

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