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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Three Spots, About Five Thousand Votes


**Editor’s note.  This article originally stated four positions available.  That is because four ran four years ago but the mayoral position was a “make up”.  Correction, in 2015 there will be only THREE positions since the mayor’s position was filled in the 2013 election.

In March 2015, there will be elections for THREE Goodyear city council positions.

THREE.  That’s an important number.  Because THREE council members do not form a majority on the seven person (thus the reference to the Seven Dwarfs) Goodyear city council.

Here are the results of the last election for the three incumbents who’s seats will be up for grabs:

2011 GY Council Election Results

Those three, and the number of votes each of them got are:

Lauritano      4,715 votes

Osborne         5,301 votes

Stipp               4,079 votes

In a city of nearly 70,000 residents and over 30,000 registered voters, about 5,000 votes gets you elected to Goodyear city council.

C’mon, Goodyear.

Three good, conservative candidates, who are not on the leash of the public employees unions, developers, and chamber of commerce need to find about 5,000 good citizens to vote for them and they can put a good dent in the reign of GEOrgia and the dwarfs, year after year of overspending, property tax and utility bill increases, and catering to special interests instead of voters interests would be over.

Here is a link to Goodyear’s website where they claim candidate packages are available in order to start running. Since Goodyear spends hundreds of thousands of dollars every year just on their IT group, I assume this link will work….

City of Goodyear 2015 Candidate Packages

Editor’s note #2.  As one reader has noted, this link gets you to the Goodyear website with a link to the Candidate Packages but alas, the city’s website link comes up blank.

Keep trying….

March 2013 Election Results


You got to give them credit.

Wally “the dog ate my homework” Campbell and recently retired city employee Joe Pizzillo won their GY council seats yesterday. About 7,000 voters turned out in a city of 65,000 people with I’m guessing 30 some thousand registered voters, and the two life time government employees convinced about 5,000 of those voters that they would look out for their interests better than anyone else could even though under their watch the city continues to fail, taxpayer dollars are doled out to failing foreign companies, and a fire fighter’s lobbying group loves them.

As an ex-city employee, does anyone really doubt where Joe’s loyalties lie and what his priorities are? And is it not clear to anyone who has attended a council meeting or watched the tapes that lifetime government “staffer” (secretary) Wally “tdamh” Campbell does not even know what she is looking at when it comes to most GY council issues?

But they have 5,000 supporters who vote.

The news was not as good for GEOrgia even though she won. 1 in 7 voters who took the time to vote refused to cast a ballot for GEOrgia even though she was the only one on the ballot.

If I have my facts straight, it appears that Brannon Hampton and Sharolyn Hohman will face a run off in May. Hohman will win handily, in that case since she is GEOrgia and the current council’s handpicked choice and they will get their 5,000 or so lemming like loyal supporters to vote for her.

A shout out, “I told you so” to Brannon. I told you that if you did not make the election about the incumbents’ incompetence you COULD NOT win. You didn’t so far and I say you have no chance now. The local newspapers called this election, “quiet”. You blew it, Brannon. Now you’ve spent all that time and effort and for nothing. Believe me yet?
Prediction
New council will vote itself a pay raise at the insistence (based upon studies, of course) of the city manager.

Just Exactly Who Are the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona?


“It is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”  Franklin Delano Roosevelt  (FDR News Conference minutes)

Perhaps you got a recent robo call from Bryan Jefferies Executive VP of the Professional Firefighters of Arizona endorsing Wally “the dog ate my homework” Campbell for city council.  If you get hgb emails, a copy was attached to my latest email to you.

Sounds official, but who are these PFFA guys and what do they do?

This was a much easier question to answer than I expected, because the PFFA tells you exactly what they DO and why they are organized on the first page of their web site. PFFA website

The PFFA website exclaims that they are NOT there for AZ citizens, instead they say, “just.. (like).. fire fighters, …the PFFA is there for its membership.”

There for their membership.

So, if the PFFA endorses Wally “the dog ate my homework” Campbell for Goodyear city council, it stands to reason that the PFFA thinks WALLY IS THERE FOR THE PFFA or they would not be endorsing her, would they? 

Do you want someone on city council who is “there for the PFFA membership”?

Hey, everyone wants a safe town to live in, but I thought elected public officials were supposed to be “there” for taxpayers and voters.  Not special interest lobbying groups like the PFFA. But that is exactly what is going on here and they are not even ashamed to advertise it.

Did I claim that PFFA is merely a lobbying group?  Yes.  If you take a look at the PFFA’s “Leadership” page, you will see that besides the normal top posts of a president, vice president, sec/treasurer, and staff rep that any other organization would have.  The PFFA has ONLY TWO OTHER leadership posts.

They are; DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS and POLITICAL DIRECTOR.

I rest my case. Vote for Wally “the dog ate my homework” Campbell and you are fulfilling the PFFA’s political agenda.

I would suggest that you NOT vote for people who are “there” for some special interest.  I want representatives who are there for ME.  Just like I would not vote for a former Goodyear employee like Joe Pizzillo for city council, either.  Where do you think his loyalties lie?

That leaves only Hampton, Holman, and Weber.  And write in ANYONE ELSE’S NAME for mayor besides GEOrgia.

An Election, The Mall is Coming. An Election, The Mall is Coming. An Election….


Don’t you just love election time in GY?  Just like the sun rising in the east, you can bet there will be articles in the local media, fed by GY city government about how the mall will soon be here.

Another GY election, more mall stories by the local media. This is getting to be a tired old piece of shoe leather, just like some of the politicians who think you are all too stupid to see through what they do prior to each GY election.
But it’s getting worse now.
John Yantis’ recent article (http://www.azcentral.com/community/swvalley/articles/20130208will-city-get-its-regional-mall.html?nclick_check=1) is full of errors and misstatements that any responsible journalist should check or by this time know by heart. Not only that, AZ Rep and other west valley media outlets should know by now that they are being used by the city to promote incumbent candidates by writing these articles.  The city is good at this, though. For this latest propaganda they had new interim council person Jennifer Barber coo at Macerich, “you are very, very, wanted in this community”.

These are businessmen, Jenny. If you had any business experience of your own you would know that your statement means absolutely nothing to them.  What Jenny B. should have said was that she would do everything she could to give them a haircut by finding a replacement for them if they did not show EVIDENCE that they had solid plans to build.  But that won’t happen.  Why?  Because GEOrgia and the rest are all bought and paid for by Macerich/Westcor and other developers. Here are some of GEOrgia’s contributions records to show it.
But I digress.  Back to the local media. When will they start to write skeptically, ask some tough questions, and stop being used to shill for the city?

Examples.
“Macerich has invested $80 million”.
That is just baloney. Macerich might be looking at a potential $80 million dollar investment but show me how and where they have invested anything close to that? Maybe they have included the $40 to $70 million the CITY has invested in the stretch of dirt with curbs that our taxes have paid for, assuming that ONE DAY their total payments to the city years from now (if they ever complete the project) will amount to that, or maybe they include their investment in the current
“shopping center” that is operating at a profit for them there as they keep 50% of all city sales taxes they collect. But of course Yantis does not even ask them how they come to that amount, he just reports that they have invested $$ in the MALL so GEOrgia can go around quoting it until the election is over and beyond.

“Macerich has paid $74 million in assesments”.
This is either a flat out lie or a misprint. Maybe a decimal point is out of place and he “meant” $7.4 million. I wonder on which front page they’ll print the retraction, if ever. In the sentence prior, Yantis states that they only started paying about $3 million per year in assessments in 2009. How did it get to $74 million in 4 years?

“The mall will be ready in 2016”.
After reporting “the mall will be ready in 2014” before the last election and then reporting, “we didn’t plan on a mall anyway” from Fischback prior to the election before that, one would think that any rational reporter would question statements like this from the same entity.

But NOOOOOOOOOO. Not John Yantis and the AZ Rep’s fine editorial staff.

If you want to know about the mall, here is a link to an article from HGB in April 2011, which truthfully explains what is going on with the mall and provides all the contracts and details so you can decide for yourself.  Forget John Yantis and the AZ Republic on this story. Maybe John has realized how much better city employees get paid than private sector companies like the struggling AZ Rep and he figures if he lap dogs long enough for GEOrgia and GY they’ll figure out a way to hire him and he’ll be all set for the rest of his life instead of having to earn a living the hard way in the public sector.

Obama and Your Water Bill New Post by the Lone Ranger


by Clayton Moore  aka, The Lone Ranger

ON THE NATIONAL SCENE, there seems to be an overwhelming amount of activity by our President to obfuscate his own blunder. He is wandering the Country in his private jet (at $100,000.00 an hour at the taxpayers’ expense) frightening everyone into believing that life as we know it in the United States will forever change if the sequestration takes effect. He may be correct that life as we know it in the United States is changing, but it has nothing to do with the sequestration.

He is telling everyone that national security will be compromised, hundreds of thousands of people will lose their job, and we’ll have dirty water, dirty air and poisoned meat. Criminals will be running free in the street; children will be uneducated and go hungry.

So how would that be different than what is happening now? But let’s get serious. What Obama is not telling us is that the sequestration is his idea. He helped author it and he signed it into law. It was his answer to bribing the Congress into raising the debt ceiling almost a year ago and to show his commitment to deficit reduction in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. That was just another campaign lie.

Now that his idea is about to explode in his face, he wants to find someone to blame and direct attention for the chaos away from himself. He has no commitment at all to deficit reduction. Indeed, he wants to increase spending and grow government and entitlement even more!
Another item he will not discuss is that he can fix his own dilemma himself in about an hour. He created his own predicament with the stroke of his pen and he can correct it with a stroke of his pen.

President Obama is certainly aware of the power of his executive pen. He has used it more in the past four years than all of his predecessors combined in the preceding 219 years. What he is not telling the people he is so subtly trying to scare is that he has the executive power to transfer funds. But why won’t he do it? He won’t do it because he is looking for a fight, not a solution.

So how does that fit into the local scene?
Some time ago Howard’s Goodyear Blog told us that the City admitted to “…funneled in excess of $3 million dollars in each of the past several years from various utilities (water, wastewater, sanitation) in order to continue to fund the excessive spending in the General Fund” (Goodyear Admits… Funneling… September 28, 2012).

See how easy it is Mr. Obama? Perhaps a visit to the Goodyear City Council chamber would ease the pain of the impending sequester. See how they did it. But how could that happen? Where did the “extra” money come from to skim?

The utilities are supposed to be “enterprise funds”. That means they collect enough funds (taxes from their service bills) to pay for themselves and not take funding from the general fund to operate. So you pay for the amount of service you use. Like a Use Tax. Sound fair? Perhaps, if it was done correctly. But rather the enterprise funds have been transformed into slush funds. Rather than raise property taxes or sales taxes that everyone sees and watches, somehow the rates for the utilities continue to climb to build far reaching excess. Then when the time comes, and no one is watching, behind closed doors and smoke filled rooms, funds are transferred from the enterprise fund to the general fund (play sinister music). Eureka, a pile of money to give raises to City employees and buy yourself a public sector union or two! Never mind that you lost your job in the private sector.

But where did the money come from? Here is some food for thought. I took a perfunctory look at the water/sewer bill for my home since I moved into it. Below represents the average of my monthly bill from the City of Goodyear and how it has so quietly and gently increased. Remember, this is water. It falls from the sky free of charge. Just as a matter of comparison, my use of water has not changed. I did not have any more children to increase washing or bathing, I did not build a pool nor have I added any irrigation to my property.

2004    $66.60

2005    $64.51

2006    $92.16

2007    $99.00

2008    $110.22

2009    $129.78

2010    $138.32

2011    $132.14

2012    $154.73

Keep in mind that all but two of the people that made the decisions to make this happen have been on the Goodyear City Council for the past six of the nine years shown here.

Are the Natives Getting Restless in Pebble Creek?


I was forwarded the following email that is circulating around PC as we speak.  I guess I’m not the only Creeker who is fed up with GEOrgia, Wally, and Pizzillo’s SPEND, SPEND, SPEND administrations.

Names have been withheld to protect the guilty:

Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2013 7:18 AM
Subject: Write in candidate for Mayor – Joan Schield

All: BLANK and I invite you to join us as we write in Joan Schield for Mayor in the upcoming Goodyear City Council election. We believe she offers the new leadership and fiscal responsible direction we believe is required for Goodyear at this time.
Joan is a PebbleCreek resident and would be more than happy to share her views and ideas if you contact her.
Additionally we are also voting for each of the three new candidates on the ballot.
BLANK and BLANK, PC RESIDENTS
We have talked to Joan and she has agreed to this endorsement.
Editor’s Note; WOW! Can you imagine that?
While I am no fan of either Sharolyn Homan or Karl Weber, I would agree that they can’t be any worse than Wally or Joe.  So maybe this writer is on to something.  Just don’t vote for any incumbents.
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