Government Dream Jobs, Goodyear City Council


How would you like to have a job where you earn nearly $50,000 in salary and benefits every 18 months, you also get paid travel (but only if you want to go) to expensive, do nothing conferences and the ONLY hard and fast requirement of this dream job is that you attend two to three meetings per month of a few hours duration each and that you not miss more than 3 pre-scheduled, local (Goodyear) meetings in a row.* The meetings are scheduled weeks and months in advance, and you can even telephone into the meetings if your other similar dream job holders say it is ok for you to do that.

And here’s the best part. YOU decide how much to charge every other person in your town so that YOU can have enough revenue to continue the dream job’s terms!

Oh, and one more thing, you get most of the summer off.

Would you like that?

Well Mr. and Mrs. Goodyear taxpayer, that is EXACTLY what you are doing for Goodyear city council members Bill Stipp, Joanne Osborne, and Sheri Lauritano. All of whom, by the way, are running for re-election this March of 2015.

howardsgoodyearblog has determined through a Freedom of Information records request that in the 18 month period from June 2013 to October 2014, (time period selected at random) YOUR Goodyear City Council members Bill Stipp, Joanne Osborne, and Sheri Lauritano received combined salary, benefits, and travel expenditures of nearly $140,000.

And that is only THREE out of SEVEN council members I am talking about.

In 2009, Goodyear City Council spent just over $177,000 on itself.
In 2014, Stipp, Osborne, and Lauritano passed a budget that awarded Goodyear city council expenditures of over $300,000 per year.

Let me repeat that.    2009, spent about $177,000
2014, passed a $300,000 plus budget for themselves.

That is a nearly 70% increase in 5 years. And they did it DURING A RECESSION. And at the same time, Goodyear taxpayers saw their property taxes and utilities increased by this same city council by double digits and then some.

As usual, and as unbelievable as my claims may seem to readers, I have included below pdf files of the supporting raw data.

So next time you see one of these friendly “public servants”, ask Stipp, Osborne, or Lauritano how they like their dream job on your dime. Then ask them if they are so public minded, would they agree, if re-elected, to eliminate all their city benefits except their $9,200 annual salary.

Here is a summary by council member of what each of those mentioned was compensated during the 18 month time period of this analysis.

Joanne Osborne
Salary: $12,511.67
Benefits including personal and family healthcare, dental plan, and basic life insurance: $29,948.32
Travel Expenditures: $4,642.72
Total Expenditures: $47,102.71

Bill Stipp
Salary: $12,384.75
Benefits including personal and family healthcare, dental plan, and basic life insurance: $29,876.56
Travel Expenditures: $3,225.87
Total Expenditures: $45,487.18

Sheri Lauritano
Salary: $12,384.75
Benefits including personal and family healthcare, dental plan, and basic life insurance: $29,852.76
Travel Expenditures: $3,950.36
Total Expenditures: $46,187.87

* The only city charter requirements for council members is Section 14 of the city of Goodyear charter included below in its entirety. Section 14. Absence to Terminate Membership.
If any Council member shall be absent from more than three consecutive regular meetings, or a total of four regular meetings in any calendar year, without the consent of the Council duly recorded in the journal, he shall thereupon cease to hold office.

Lauritano Compensation
Stipp Compensation
Osborne Compensation

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Goodyear’s New General Plan (Over 100 Action Items)


Editor’s note. This is a reprint of a post I wrote January 2014.  I’m reprinting it because I just got the city of Goodyear’s propaganda letter in the mail telling me to vote for their new General Plan.  IF YOU ARE TIRED OF THE PROPERTY TAX INCREASES AND WANT TO SEND A MESSAGE TO GEOrgia et al, VOTE AGAINST GY’S GENERAL PLAN.

Now here is the article, telling you why you should vote against it.

The state of Arizona requires cities to produce a General Plan every 10 years.  For a city the size of Goodyear, there are 17 required “elements” to the plan which I have summarized in an attachment below. If you read the statute you will see, that most of the requirements of each element are to catalog existing uses of land, water, traffic areas, public buildings, open space and then provide “policies and strategies” for how to deal with development impacts on each of these public elements.

That’s IT!

Here is a link that summarizes each of the 17 elements. General Plan Requirements Summary
You can compare my summary to the link at the end of this article which will take you to the actual Arizona statute.

By now you have probably received a postcard from the city of Goodyear (and now in October a propaganda mailing) telling you they want you to come and “learn” about their new 2025 General Plan (GYGP) (and of course now they want you to vote YES for it).

This is the “foundation” (they say) for how the city will grow and develop. They don’t say they want you to comment on it, they just say they want you to “learn” about it, or in other words, this is a done deal, don’t bother us with your comments.

If you go to the meeting I can assure you that after reading through Goodyear’s TWO HUNDRED AND FOURTY EIGHT PAGE plan, that the GYGP and going to the meeting to “learn” about it, are both a colossal waste of time.  Cudos to the 15 – 20 good citizens who volunteered to participate on the committee who the city claims wrote and developed the plan. I feel bad for you, as it is obvious that the city had an agenda and all of you were just its pawns to put a good face on producing a Christmas wish list of all the things local politicians might want to spend taxpayer money on over the next 10 years.

Let me repeat that.  THE NEW GOODYEAR GENERAL PLAN IS MERELY A CHRISTMAS WISH LIST OF ALL THE THINGS LOCAL POLITICIANS MIGHT WANT TO SPEND YOUR MONEY ON OVER THE NEXT 10 YEARS.

Is there anything in the plan that they have NOT wished for?

THERE ARE OVER 100 “ACTION ITEMS” IN THE APPENDIX TO THE GYGP, and I can assure you, each and every action item is designed to spend your money.  Do the state statues require or even ask for  “Action Items”?

Nope.

Can you find a simple recitation of the 17 required elements and a simple statement or reference to where either in planning or zoning ordinances, or public safety guidelines they have provided for the policies and strategies that the state statute requires?

No, that is because it’s not there.  Politicians in this case have hijacked the intended process to merely list, catalog, and comment on, how important requirements like water, traffic, and public safety will be handled in the years to come, and instead put together a liberal progressive agenda of exactly how they want you to live your life and how they want to spend your money.

Here are some examples of the feel good drivel that defines all 248 pages of the GYGP. According to the GYGP, Goodyear wants to:

  1. Become a unique and exciting destination city
  2. It wants a cohesive identity
  3. Keep or expand services to residents
  4. Become a cultural and arts center and encourage art in the public
  5. Attract high tech, medical, and education jobs
  6. Promote desirable neighborhoods
  7. Improve older neighborhoods
  8. and even this; encourage and promote healthier life styles among its citizens.  Sorry, but when did my life style become the purview of some local city political hack like GEOrgia Lord?

They needed a committee to spend nearly two years to come up with this? How can you say no to any of this (except number 8)?

As I said, there are 248 pages of this kind of LIBERAL PROGRESSIVE hope and change, mom and apple pie grandiose statement nonsense.  It sounds exactly like how politicians and flip chart addicted facilitation counselors speak.  Of course, that is exactly who was running the show for our fine citizen volunteers wasn’t it?

In short, the GYGP gives GY elected officials something to point at for the next 10 years that will justify nearly any and every spending proposal they might possibly dream up and they can say with a straight face, “this is consistent with the GYGP, that’s why I’m proposing it”.  AND THAT IS WHY THEY WANT YOU TO VOTE YES FOR IT.

More Examples
Not that I am a big fan of VISION STATEMENTS, but GYGP can’t even get that right. If I were to guess, it appears that the citizen volunteers were handed a vision statement from the start and they didn’t like it. They apparently wrote a shortened one which maybe did not survive in tact throughout the editing process. In chapter 1, the old original vision statement is shown, with reference to another one in chapter 3.  Turn to chapter 3, and there appears to be a partial statement (which refers back to chapter 1) that says, and I quote:

“Create a highly desirable and sustainable place for all to live, work, and visit and”

AND?  And what?  Are you kidding me?  Yes, this vision statement appears to end with the word AND. Maybe that’s the latest in facilitation counseling?  End vision statements with AND.

I defy anyone to explain to me exactly what the vision statement is for the GYGP based upon reading what is posted online in the version available yesterday.

And on page 7 of chapter 3, a bunch of “statistics” are listed.  One of them shows employment data.  And in a column next to the number of unemployed Goodyear residents (2,115) is a percentage.  4%.  Now, you would think that 4% must be the unemployment rate in Goodyear since it is listed in a column next to a row labeled “unemployment” on a table titled statistics. At least anyone who is a casual reader of this document would probably arrive at that conclusion if they did not check further.

But it is not.

Or at least it is not calculated correctly if that is what the designers of the table thought they were showing.  In fact, based upon the “statistics” in this same table, the unemployment rate in Goodyear is not 4% but actually it is 6.9%.  Could it be that GEOrgia does not know the unemployment rate in her own city because some of her many city assistants don’t know how to calculate it?

Next you will find a list of “strategies” in the GYGP. These strategies include the following action words; create, develop, expand, cultivate, advance, maximize, and foster.

You won’t find the words, reduce, save, conserve, or measure here.
Just do, do, do, more, more, more.

Watch Out, Here It Comes
Besides 47 pages of “introduction” and full color photos throughout the GYGP, and pages and pages of explanations (from their consultant of course) explaining to all of us simpletons out there in taxpayer land the proper way that one gets from “vision” to “strategy”, to “goals” to “actions items” as if this was some kind of management gospel, you finally arrive at the crux of this entire GYGP fiasco;

ACTION ITEMS!!!  (appendix F or pages 172-185)

There are over one hundred ACTION ITEMS in the GYGP.  Over one hundred new make work, busy body, lists of “stuff” to “do”.  And who do you suppose is listed as the “doer” of most of this crap?  Why of course, the City of Goodyear, AZ.  So besides the GYGP being a rock of Gibraltar for politicians to use to spend your money, it is also a FULL EMPLOYMENT roadmap for all the extremely busy over 500 Goodyear employees current and future until the next GYGP is produced sometime in the future so that they can guarantee their employment for even longer.

What You Won’t Find
Here is what you will not find in the GYGP.

  1. There is nothing there saying GY should aim to be the most efficiently run city in the valley,
  2. with the lowest property and sales taxes
  3. in order to attract more businesses and residents.
  4. There is nothing in there saying GY should NOT borrow money it does not have.
  5. There is nothing in there saying GY should reduce its debt by X% over some period.
  6. There is nothing in there saying that the ball park should be operating at a profit by 2025 and here is what should be done to plan that.
  7. There is nothing much in there at all describing stuff that the citizens DO NOT WANT the politicians to do.  Just stuff for them to DO.

Whatever happened to democracy that “limits” the government in order to expand citizens’ freedoms?

When you try to be all things to all people you usually end up not doing anything well, or going broke, or both.

Yeah, that’s Goodyear.

GYGP Link

AZ Statute

Gotcha! – Taxes Up, Elections Delayed


Hmmm…. Interesting combination. Coincidence? I think not.

Goodyear council members don’t have to worry about you not liking your new MUCH HIGHER property tax bills. That’s because they waited until the dead of summer, (Aug 27) when nobody’s around, to unanimously vote to ignore voter’s overwhelming desire to line up local elections with national elections and improve turnout.
Instead, GEOrgia et al will keep GY council elections in the spring of odd numbered years AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE from state and local elections.
So instead of council elections THIS November, 2014, as the Arizona legislature intended, GEOrgia and the dwarfs have put them off until spring 2015.
They assume you’ll forget (especially Creekers (-: ) their taxing and spending and that most of you won’t vote anyway.
In that way they continue to win elections in a town of 65,000 residents by getting about 5,000 of their loyal supporters to vote for them (developers, city employees, city suppliers, chamber of commerce, contributors).
Are you still surprised?
If so, you haven’t been reading my blog, have you?
AZ Republic Article
Check AZ Business Gazette 9/18/2014 by David Madrid

The Mall, Pizzillo, Macerich Reply


This article and a few others I have written recently about Joe Pizzillo’s statements about the mall are NOT about the mall. They are about DISHONESTY in your LOCAL GOVERNMENT, the city of Goodyear, AZ.

Here is what Goodyear Vice Mayor Joe Pizzillo said in an interview with Viva Magazine a few weeks ago:

“I was just at a meeting where the developer assured us that the mall would open by the end of 2016.”

As soon as I read it, I realized it could not be true, so I sent a message to Macerich, who is the “developer” of the mall Joe claims has assured him will open by end of 2016.

WITHIN 24 HOURS I HAD THE FOLLOWING REPLY FROM MACERICH:

Dear Mr. Brodbeck,
As stated on page 31 of our Supplemental Financial Information package filed on February 4, 2014,  available in the investing section of our website located at www.macerich.com, we plan to develop the mall in Goodyear with an opening in either 2016 or 2017.  We have been very clear in our communication that this opening date is contingent upon market demand and retailer interest. We have not had a meeting, nor conversation, with Vice Mayor Pizzillo as described. (emphasis mine).
Sincerely,
Jean Wood | Vice President – Investor Relations
The Macerich Company (NYSE: MAC)
401 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 700
Santa Monica, CA 90401
p. 310.899.6366
jean.wood@Macerich.com

Pizzillo is still not forthcoming with any answers.

This is not the first evidence of lying and misleading by Goodyear city council. GEOrgia got caught with the prison debacle, Wally told us “the dog ate her homework”, and Stipp, well, you know about Stipp and his refusal of a medical exam (no post accident exam would have never been allowed  in a business) for an on the job accident which many years later allows him (improperly, in my opinion) to collect a disability pension while still in his forties.

And unfortunately, we have a local press* who continues to keep reporting the lies these people foist on the public without challenging them. Especially the West Valley View who endlessly, and without question publishes their drivel.

There are only a few major issues in Goodyear**. The mall is one of them. Do you really think all of them (the seven dwarfs on GY city council) don’t know what I was able to obtain in 24 hours about a $40 plus million dollar mistake they’ve made and continue to mismanage?

So where were Lauritano, Osborne, Hohlman, Wally, GEOrgia, and Stipp while Joe was out there misleading the public?

* I don’t mean to criticize VIVA. They are a small community info mag.  At least they asked the question.

** GY’s big issues are, in no particular order:

  1. Money losing ball park and it’s debt which will never be paid off.
  2. The mall
  3. The ridiculous Mobile annexation.
  4. Misspending by an out of control economic development organization which alone spends near $1 mil per year.
  5. The $12 million dollar building which was appraised at $8 mil. There is more to that somewhere.
  6. The fact that the seven person city council is made up of two former city employees, two PC seniors and a super volunteer who appear to not understand most of what is put in front of them, the former head of the local chamber of commerce, and a lawyer who may be so busy with growing her small business that she is allowing this stuff to continue to happen.

Blind Loon Behavior


If you came here looking for the Joe Pizzillo reply, see the previous article, just scroll down.

Joe Pizzillo has still not answered my questions about his comments about the mall opening by end of 2016, but the normal city-council-supporters acting like blind loons are out in force calling me names on my blog and telling me that “all this info was in the West Valley View”.

Bobbie Watts, big GEOrgia supporter sent this 225 word comment (Bobbie Watts comment) to my previous article about Pizzillo ducking my questions. (and some guy who calls himself Jimmy T. another named Suzie Q. responded. I guess those are their real names, eh?).

Bobbie summarizes some “Valley Partnership” meeting that took place last November, mentions a bunch of official sounding people who attended, and then claims that “all of this was in the West Valley View Nov 22.”

That’s pretty funny.

Because the WVV article Bobbie refers to is merely quotes by GEOrgia Lord, some consulting firm from Texas (who we taxpayers probably paid for) and GY city manager Brian Dalke. By the way, here is the West Valley View article he refers to if you don’t believe me. Goodyear mall on track to open October 2016

Oh yeah, and notice the last line of the WVV article. “Garrett Newland, vice president of the mall’s developer, Macerich, could not be reached for additional questions.”

So if Bobbie is now the official spokesperson for Joe Pizzillo, since it appears Joe does not want to say anything further (I called his office and left a third message today) Bobbie is using city of Goodyear statements to confirm Joe’s claims.

Are they simply overzealous or do they have serious reading comprehension issues?

Here are the very simple questions: Who from the developer assured Joe Pizzillo at a meeting that the mall would open by 2016?  What meeting, and when did it take place?

I’m still waiting, Joe.

The Mall, Pizzillo, Part Two Pizzillo Reply AND a Poll


It’s looking bad for our pal Goodyear Vice Mayor Joe Pizzillo regarding his statements about the mall in Viva magazine (see howardsgoodyearblog about 3 articles ago).

I’ve been chasing Joe several days now trying to get an answer to three simple questions:

  1. Who at the “developer” assured Joe that the mall would be open by 2016?
  2. What meeting was it where the developer told Joe and others that?
  3. When did that meeting take place?

Joe finally sent me a short email that raises more questions than it answers. Joe’s email is reproduced below. But you can see that Goodyear’s Vice Mayor, Joe Pizzillo is backtracking already. It appears that Joe is now saying Joe was NOT at the meeting but some vague STAFF was at the meeting. And he has NO documentation of the meeting. You’ll notice he also is unwilling to say what meeting it was or where or when it took place.

Uh, oh.

By the way, you can vote on whether or not you think Joe was lying about the mall or not.  The first poll was highly in Joe’s favor.  Guess he’s got his supporters out in number which means he certainly knows I’m looking for some answers from him. The NEW poll is at the bottom of this article.

I’m not finished with this yet.
Stay tuned….

email reply from Pizzillo

Joe Pizzillo

Feb 27 (4 days ago)

to me

Hello Howard:
It was not a city event or meeting, but a Valley Partnership event attended by staff and therefore I do not have documentation to respond to your records request.
Joe

GY Parade Motorcycles $36,000 Each


I’m not kidding.  From a recent article in the Arizona Republic.

THIRTY SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS EACH for GYPD motorcycles.
More than I think I’ve ever paid for a car; and I think I’m pretty well off.

Can you imagine how some young couple living in Goodyear would feel reading this with a couple of kids, paying property taxes, one working in some service job, the other part time at Walmart, trying to make ends meet on maybe a combined $65,000 annual paycheck?  And Goodyear is out buying $36,000 motorcycles. And one is a spare.

In this broke town of Goodyear, your city council approved the purchase of five new motorcycles, and one is a spare to be used part time for “training” and PARADES.

They are thumbing their nose at you, taxpayers, all the while raising your taxes in 5% plus increments for years to come.

Double Dip Stipp, Lawyer Lauritano, and Deer in the Headlights Osborne are up for re-election in November (if it happens).

Will anyone even run against them?

Or are you going to elect them all again?

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