Budget Time in Goodyear. First Presentation? Up to $3.0 Million More for GY Employees

This power point was presented at the GY city council work session April 2, by GY HR. HR Presentation April 2 2012

Turn to page 21 of the presentation for the proposed compensation increase options for city of GY employees that HR is proposing to city council. Nope, there are no proposals to lower employee compensation in order to restrain spending and maybe pay off some of the city’s $300 million of debt. New city manager Dalke says, “there is $2.5 to $3.0 million that can be used for “many things”.”

They are considering lump sum payments to city employees that range from over $1.0 million at 2.5% all the way to 5% lump sums, or worse, increases and “structure changes” that take the bill to taxpayers to $2.4 million.

And Goodyear is broke, friends. But that is what your city council is considering. Lucky you, they were leaning towards something in the $1.0 million range.

And why are they proposing this? “Market policies.” “Benchmark organizations.” “Compensation Strategies.” And against whom do they market, benchmark, and strategize? They don’t tell you in this presentation but Scottsdale and Glendale have been in there in the past.

Should Goodyear compare itself to Scottsdale and Glendale for employee compensation? How about just Buckeye, Tolleson, Litchfield Park, and Avondale?

Oh, and lest I forget, there is also half a million dollars ($500,000) of increased cost for healthcare and dental that the city is considering taking on plus council wants to re-institute tuition reimbursement for employees at an estimated cost of $150,000 per year.

Is your employer covering over half of your health care cost increases?

Does your employer still offer tuition reimbursement?

That brings the total potential tab to taxpayers to over $3.0 million.

Can you say campaign payoffs and “Meet and Confer?”


12 Responses

  1. What about repealing the sales tax hike like they promised.

  2. Your city is being liquidated. Enjoy the auction.

  3. Editor’s note; I’ll reply to each of Al’s comments in bold.

    Once again you have displayed your inability to remain objective. And your evidence for this claim is? Where is your data?

    As a member of the citizens budget committee you were educated on the facts of why Goodyear uses all benchmark cities (geographical proximity and job description…meaning if employees can easily apply/accept a job to a close city it is considered a benchmark city) You apparently drank the coolaid that was offered throughout the CBC, I did not accept their explanation then, Al, and I still don’t. If that were true, why are the cities I mentioned at lower average rates than Glendale and Scottsdale? Are Scottsdale and Glendale going to hire all our employees? Is it less costly to live in Goodyear than Scottsdale? Absolutely. That is where your arguement, and theirs, falls apart.

    As a taxpayer I am OK with increasing employee compensation. Al, you are free to make donations to the city of GY if you like. The rest of us want our tax money spent more carefully. These employees, who you seem to love to hate, that’s name calling, Al. have given my family and me excellent service since we moved here 8 years ago. As a small business owner Why don’t you tell us what business is it that you own, Al? Free advertising and all. I think it is incredibly important to retain good employees. It is my understanding that these employees have not had a raise in 4 years. In addition, they have seen their medical costs and cost of living increase. Why would we not look for a way to reward them for all of their hard work? Their reward, as with those in the private sector, is that they have retained their jobs in this market. If there are better jobs out there for them they are free to leave. What has GY’s recent turnover been besides Fisch? Speaking of facts, Al, while you have none to support your claims, why don’t you read my article on GY employee compensation vs the rest of GY households from Jan 18, 2012? And I believe they are considering compensating all employees not just those who have “meet and confer.” No one said they weren’t, Al, I included the entire presentation.

    As far as Mr Rassas’ comment on repealing the sales tax, why would we take away something that is maintaining a level of service, including retaining employees, and only costing $71 per citizen? Why wouldn’t we want to be better than a few cities? Maybe it would get the mall built sooner. I’m sure if Mr Rassas treats his employees of his coffee shop (minimum wage/server wages/tip sharing) like he/you want the City of Goodyear to treat their employees he has plenty of extra money to pay for that whopping $71 a year. Again, Al, you offer no evidence to support your view, you’re just name calling again. If GY is doing such a great job managing the city, why are there so many obvious cases of mismanagement, starting with the $50 to $70 million plus in lawsuits against the city. If that is not a leading indicator of poor management, I don’t know what is.
    What you do not seem to be able to comprehend or fail to acknowledge is the sales taxes is not only distributed to the citizens of Goodyear but all people who pass through Goodyear and those who shop from neighboring towns. My research shows our tax rate is in line with all the cities round us (Avondale- 2.5%, Buckeye- 3.0%. Litchfield Park 2.8%, Surprise 2.2%, Glendale 2.2%, El Mirage 3.0%). I would like to see them lower the property tax (a benefit to only Goodyear citizens) and keep the sales tax. Wouldn’t you also like to see them lower utility bills? They’ve raised them nearly 25% in the past few years in order to continue their spending ways. Did you miss my article on that also? The date of it was November 15.
    I would love to hear you actually offer solutions to some problems rather that just tear apart everything this council does. Give up some idea of what you want to do that isn’t going to slash the cities ability to provide basic service- sewer,trash, police and fire… Hey, Al, this is getting tiresome, check out my article from November 1, of last year with my list of solutions. Where are yours besides it is OK to continue to raise taxes?
    Lastly, I believe I saw you at the last meeting. Why did you not get up and speak your mind regarding the increased compensation proposal? Is it easier to take cheap shots from the bleachers? I wrote in a comment two weeks ago to Gary Gibbs when he said he was going to go to the meeting to ask them what exactly was the “direction” they were changing by firing Fisch, that if he was going to ask that question, I wanted to go hear their answer, but I predicted they would not respond. They did not respond. I went to support Gary. The way Georgia runs the meetings these days, there is no reason for the average citizen to attend, she leads the cheerleading on what she likes, then tells residents they must not clap for stuff she does not like and they are silent on anything that they don’t want to have a meaningful conversation on. So what is the sense? Did you miss my article on that just last week Al? Not only that, but as Gary has written on this blog previously, if you say something they really don’t like, they will take the opportunity after you sit down and can no longer defend yourself to excoriate you, your motives, and your politics. No one should have to subject themselves to that. On this blog, however, everyone gets to speak their minds if they want, and I have offered that opportunity to everyone on council as well. Only Lauritano has ever taken me up on it. Even you are invited, Al. If you want to write a blog on your issues, as I think I have asked you before, feel free to submit something. Just keep it factual, support your arguments and don’t call people names,

    Finally, Al, you should get out more. Maybe read some stuff with some facts in it instead of just going to city council meetings and listening to their propaganda. You sound like the editor of the West Valley View, Jim Painter, who famously said my blog was not objective or reliable, then went on to say that he had never read it.

    • Hey, Al. I replied to your comments within your comment. Just for clarity. Why don’t you write a blog here and give us all your facts that support your arguments?

      • Editor’s note; Good conversation with Al Lewis (if that is his real name. Al, is that your real name?) My comments to Al are in bold.

        OK…so let me get this straight. You are always right and everyone else (council, the AZ Republic, the West Valley View, and the voters who support the council) are all wrong. The voters were misled, in my opinion. Like Obama, the incumbent group ran as fiscal conservatives. Let’s see what happens in 2013. I think the folks in Pebble Creek have had enough of Georgia et al. Their vote decides things in GY. I didn’t know that WVV and AZR were “opinion” organizations as you imply. Nice to see that you are admitting that they “support” certain groups over others. That is true. Sounds a little delusional name calling again, Al but for arguments sake I will respond.

        “You apparently drank the coolaid that was offered throughout the CBC, I did not accept their explanation then, Al, and I still don’t.” I’ve seen you in several videos on the city website (during the CBC) PRAISING the management of some departments. You seemed to accept some of the explanations then. I did accept some of what was said, that just goes to show you how open minded I am now and I was then. You were referring to a particular subject in your comment, Al, employee compensation benchmarking. I objected then and I still object. Get your facts straight, Al. No half truths like Georgia.

        I pointed out the we are pretty much on par with pretty much all the surrounding cities (sales tax). Your response “Wouldn’t you also like to see them lower utility bills?” Of course I would, but what does that have to do with comparing us to other cities? Following your sales tax comment you brought up lowering the property tax, Al. Following that comment is when I responded with the question about utility bills. You were putting up a false straw man and I was setting it on fire as it were. My point there is that the city has managed not to raise property taxes by instead, substantially raising utility rates.
        “Hey, Al, this is getting tiresome, check out my article from November 1, of last year with my list of solutions. Where are yours besides it is OK to continue to raise taxes?” I know I don’t have as much free time as you to watch every meeting…but who said they are raising taxes again? First of all, Al, before I address your canard, the issue was that you said I had NO solutions. Remember that? I pointed you to my Nov 1 article which is just FULL of solutions. Now as to your jealously over my being retired, remember my reference to utility rates, Al? They are raising them well above the cost of providing the utility instead of raising other taxes. You seem to be OK with that. Besides that, all of city council has agreed that portions of the sales tax were temporary. You appear to be accepting them as permanent. Do you know something we don’t, Al? And Al, for a guy with his own small business, as you say, you seem to have a lot of free time to make comments on a blog in the middle of the day. What did you say was the name of the business you said you own again? I don’t remember how you responded to that. Why don’t you want to tell us that, Al?
        “Again, Al, you offer no evidence to support your view, you’re just name calling again. If GY is doing such a great job managing the city, why are there so many obvious cases of mismanagement, starting with the $50 to $70 million plus in lawsuits against the city. If that is not a leading indicator of poor management, I don’t know what is.” -What does this have to do with employee compensation? I believe council and management addressed this problem with changes of leadership. One guy gone and the problems are over, eh? C’mon, Al, you can do better than that. And why won’t they tell us why they fired him besides “new direction.” Asked by Gibbs and answered with “no comment.”

        You also said this is a product for meet and confer, as did Mr Gibbs. There are only 2 groups that have that status so where is your rationale for that? As a result of meet and confer, the city is under additional obligations to analyse, explain, justify, etc etc their actions or inactions with those two groups. If meet & Confer were worth nothing to those two groups, it would be a non issue. If the city provides additional benefits to either or both of those two groups they will be forced to consider the same with others. White collar workers in auto and steel have historically enjoyed similar benefits with unions in those industries although never quite as great. Give me an example where that has not been true. The biggest problem for me with M&C is that it disenfranchises all other employees. If it is good for those two, why is it not good for the rest? That is what I would be asking as a city employee right now. That is the connection to meet and confer to the $1.5 to $3.0 million in new cost for employees. But Al, I know I don’t have to explain this to you. As a business owner you would already know this. What was the name of the business you own again?

        “Al, you should get out more. Maybe read some stuff with some facts in it instead of just going to city council meetings and listening to their propaganda” NAME CALLING. I think you should use some other sources besides the Goldwater Institute. Maybe you haven’t seen the study done on public employee compensation (or you have and it proved you and Goldwater wrong and you chose not to mention it.) It was done my Grand Canyon University. I’m sure you will try to paint it as some liberal fodder but it is actually a private Christian University…just FYI in case you try to mislead your readers.

        It states that public employees are actually UNDERPAID

        “When we make comparisons controlling for education, experience, hours of work,organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship, and disability, both state and local public employees earn less wages and compensation (including all benefits) than comparable private sector employees.”

        OOPS, guess someone has been drinking the Goldwater’s cool-aide as you like to say. Oh, Al. This is just the best. Thank you thank you for bringing that up. But Al, you forgot to mention that school teachers were included in the GCU research didn’t you? And didn’t you also forget to mention that the entire basis of the difference between the Goldwater and GCU study was the fact that GCU adjusted for education and GWI was looking at something completely different which was the issue around the average taxpayer (AVERAGE) forgetting about their educational backround makes less than the public employees their taxes are used for. You and I may have finally found strong agreement on something. School teachers are in general underpaid for their educational back ground. Unfortunately for your argument, there are no school teacher positions that are funded by the city of Goodyear. No hiding behind leaving out stuff on this blog, Al.

        • Meet and Confer is not even in place until next year (per the council notes I just looked at). So how you can correlate it to these current costs is beyond me. (insert your lame rationale here in bold black letters)

          You obviously did not read it or you just aren’t as smart as you think you are. I know..NAME CALLING

          On page 10 it clearly states that when comparing education levels, as in like for like. Meaning high school public versus high school private, associates degree public versus associates degree private etc etc.

          The Goldwater study is completely flawed. Read the break down of the analysis on methodology they used, it’s a complete joke.

          Here is another thing to consider about compensating employees:

          “There is research evidence that under-compensating public employees can have adverse effects for citizens and on essential public services. A recent study shows that arrest rates and average sentence length decline, and crime reports rise when police pay is reduced or is viewed as unfair. These declines in performance are larger when the wage is set further from the police officers’ reference point. Education is the primary activity of state and local government. Approximately 54 percent of public employees work in education, from kindergarten through university. A current study of teacher performance by Craig Olson, who used unique data from Wisconsin and Illinois, reports that in higher paying districts, teachers were significantly more successful in raising student performance as measured on standardized tests, even after controlling all potential other plausible influences on scores.29 In short, public sector employee compensation matters to citizens not only as taxpayers but as consumers of critical services.”

          I know the last part deals with teachers (which Goodyear does not pay) but why wouldn’t it be applicable to all services provided by the city.

          • Thanks for the comments, Al, but this blog is just not about teachers. Repeat, if you’re saying teachers are probably underpaid, we agree. Take them out of the equation and it changes the entire GCU report, and not in your favor. You have to concede at least that.
            Write an article and send it in.
            What’s the business you own?

            • No response to the fact that meet and confer has nothing to do with the current proposals? Or to the fact that poorly paid employees, public included, lead to a lesser degree of service?

              • About half the employees are police and fire and we could not have a worse police force reputation now could we? How’s that for retaining good employees?
                I don’t think you are a small bus owner now are you?

                • You are still avoiding the question…what does meet & confer have to do with the current employee compensation if it isn’t in place until 2013?

                  It would be the equivalent of saying all of Estrella Mountain dresses like homeless people for the attire Gary Gibbs wears to council meetings…you can’t blame all of the police for bad press received for a few officers actions.

  4. It should be noted “Meet and Confer” covers roughly half of City employees (Police and Fire). As for all other employees with the City, I’m not aware of any of them demanding pay raises. Over the past four years, if an employee wanted a pay raise, they left to work for another employer, unless they were a fortunate member of Police or Fire. Also as I recall, Police and Fire were still allowed overtime, which I believe for FY2011 was over $500,000.

    Just some mind vitamins…

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