The Do-Nothings


Bill Stipp says he is “proud” of what he and the other seven dwarfs have done managing Goodyear’s budget. He’s bragging about it. Bill Stipp is either a consumate politician who does not want to be confused with the facts, or he simply does not know what he is talking about.

Interim GY City Manager Brian Dalke tells you in an opinion piece (that he had time to write for the Arizona Republic on your dime) that GY has had to make tough budget decisions but not to worry, things are looking up, and soon an improved economy (and more of your property tax revenues) will solve everything. In Brian’s 2013 GY budget, your property tax increase he says is, “only 54 cents per month”. Brian tells you that it’s the state’s fault your property taxes are going up because they are shifting property tax burdens from commercial to residential. Of course, Brian doesn’t supply any data to support these claims nor any of his other positions. Dalke has said previously that he had to increase GY employee salaries this year by over $1 million dollars per year because of his fear of high turnover and losing good people. But did Brian provide any data to support an inordinate turnover rate in Goodyear (besides all the fired GY employees who are either suing or got big payoffs like Fishcbach)? Nope, once again, no data. It’s easy to flap your mouth with no data.

The facts are, as I demonstrate below, that since 2008 when the recession started, Goodyear has done absolutely nothing to soften the impact of the recession for it’s residents.

Budget, Budget, Budget

Budget, that’s all that Stipp and Dalke want to talk about. As I’ve told you before FORGET ABOUT BUDGETS. The fact that politicians only want to talk about budgets is your first clue that you should ignore them. Budgets are just estimates. Just like GY council is telling you that they plan to set aside $700,000 per year to pay down the ball park. That’s only a plan. What if Georgia wants another new $80,000 per year assistant next year? What happens to the plan then?

If you want to predict future behavior, the best way is to look at past behavior. In this case, look at actual historical SPENDING and actual historical REVENUES to determine if your elected officials have actually done anything worthwhile for you and if they have been good stewards of your money in Goodyear or anywhere else.

Here Are the Facts. An Historical Look at Goodyear’s ACTUAL Finances

Goodyear’s problems started in 2008 with the recession. That’s when your financial problems may have started too. When you had to tighten your belts at home. Has Goodyear tightened its belt?

Refer to the table below and the raw data that I have included at the end of this article if you want to check any of my numbers.

Since 2008 through the currently proposed 2013 budget, Goodyear has;

  1. Seen General Fund revenues drop 17%.
  2. Increased Operating Department spending by 11%
  3. Reduced the General Fund Beginning Balance by 63%
  4. Increased water, waste water, and sanitary revenue fees by 44%

A good way to look at any complicated financial data is to use difference analysis. That is, look at each year of data and compare it to the previous or following year in order to see what ACTUAL changes have been made. If the stewards of your money have done their jobs and been responsive to the ebb and flow of revenues, then they’ve done something for you. Looking only at year over year differences removes any issues around whether or not the data is valid and omits any question of looking at apples to apples comparisons.

On the other hand, if someone trys to spin a complex financial issue into a cheap talking point like, “it will only cost you 54 cents per month”, watch out.

In a simple difference analysis like the table above, (and here it is if you want to see it in Excell GY Operating Analysis 08-13) you are just comparing what was reported historically from one year to the other. It looks at how ACTUAL Goodyear spending changed each year vs ACTUAL Goodyear revenue changes each year. And to keep it simple and to the point, in this analysis, I am completely ignoring capital spending and financing like going out and borrowing money in order to keep the ship afloat. I am only looking at operating expenditures and operating revenues.

As you can see from the table, in 2008, Goodyear had $12.8 million dollars more in General Fund revenue than it had operating expenses, or one could say GY ran a nearly $13 million surplus that year. In 2009, revenues dropped by over $18 million. What did expenses do? They went UP by nearly $8 million dollars. These are actual, real numbers, not budget estimates. That left Goodyear a net deficit in 2009 of more than $13 million, more than wiping out 2008’s surplus.

If you carry this same analysis out to the current proposed 2013 proposed budget, in the five year period starting in 2008, Goodyear has run a $33.23 million dollar net deficit over this time period (yellow highlighted). Revenues have dropped from over $82 million in 2008 to less than $60 million in 2011 and GY estimates revenues to be only $68.7 million next year. At the same time, operating departments expenses have increased from $69.7 million in 2008 to over $77 million in the 2013 budget. Does that look like belt tightening to you? Goodyear has failed to respond with spending reductions to balance changes in revenue and fallen behind on an operating basis by over $33.23 million dollars over the 5 year period since 2008.

If Goodyear has failed to respond to the precipitous drop in revenues by reducing spending, then where did GY get the money to keep operating in what Brian wants you to believe have been “balanced” budgets? The answer is first, they’ve raised your utilities bills and second, they’ve raided the cookie jar of General Fund surpluses that your tax dollars had built up by 2008. Again, looking at the table above you can see that over the same period, using actual historical data from Goodyear’s own budget book that;

  1. Water Utilities bills to residents have been increased by $3.62 million dollars.
  2. Waste water bills to residents have been increased by $4.32 million dollars.
  3. Sanitation bills to residents have been increased by $1.01 million dollars with a drop in service levels.
  4. For a total of increased billings to residents of $8.95 million dollars or 44%. (pink highlighted)
  5. And did I mention that $2.8 million of that is coming in the 2013 budget? Here is their own document showing $2.8 million in transfers from the three utilities to the General Fund. Transfers to GF0001

The rest of the cash has come from draining the General Fund Beginning Balance each year. In 2008 the GF Begin Balance was nearly $56 million dollars. Today it is just over $20 million dollars. (blue highlighted)

So what tough decisions have GY council made to steward your money? They’ve done nothing. Nothing but raise your taxes and fees over the past five years and drain the treasury. This has allowed them to take junkets to DC, hire expensive assistants, make $450 per second videos, give tax breaks to foreign corporations, make bets with your tax money on emerging technology gambles, and increase city employee salaries and benefits.

Bill Stipp is “proud” of that.

*As usual, hgb includes links to all of the raw data for you to see and here they are;
Budget Book References 2013 Budget Documents from Cof GY0001

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Prison Anyone? Just Follow the Money by Gary Gibbs


by Gary Gibbs

A raucous public hearing on plans to more than double the inmate population at Goodyear’s Perryville prison was held  August 10 and no one from “official” Goodyear bothered to attend – not a single council member, not the mayor, nor any member of city management. In contrast, Litchfield Park cared enough to show up. Its city manager read a stinging letter from his mayor voicing strong opposition to prison expansion plans.

Upon leaving the hearing, I fired off an email to City Manager John Fischbach, asking if Goodyear has a position on prison plans. “The city does not have a position on the proposed prison,” he replied. “Historically, the city has opposed it, along with Litchfield Park, and you can see what that has gotten us . . . We will be proposing a resolution to the council to take a position on this issue at the August 22 meeting.”

Lack of attendance by Goodyear’s ruling elite may not have been an oversight. Expect them to adopt a resolution opposing prison expansion at their next meeting. There is sure to be plenty of blather about security concerns and listening to residents, who are uniformly in opposition judging from the many who spoke out at the hearing. But I suspect formal opposition is so much window dressing. The city stands to reap millions from construction sales taxes as the prison is built out, and millions more in ongoing revenue generated by adding as many as 1,000 jobs within city limits. Here’s the plan — posture publically, but don’t exert any real pressure privately. It’s the perfect political storm – if the state’s Department of Corrections decides to build elsewhere, the council can claim victory. If Perryville expands, the council can blame the state and rush to the bank to cash the checks.

So where were our elected representatives anyway? The council has been in recess since July 19 and a number of folks have left town. The mayor is in Colorado, council member Wally Campbell is in Texas, and political appointee Gary Gelzer, a former Navy man, is on a cruise. Bill Stipp said he was at another meeting. Even if he did not have a conflict, he would not have attended.

“It’s important to understand that the law prohibits council members from expressing opinions on the matter until after public hearings have taken place,” he emailed a Pebble Creek constituent** who wanted to know why he wasn’t at the hearing. Sounds like a crock to me. I’d like to see the law that says if you are an elected official your rights of free speech are suspended. And it didn’t stop Litchfield Park’s mayor from expressing an opinion on behalf of his citizens.

Many in Goodyear fancy the city becoming the Scottsdale of the West Valley, replete with high end dining, shopping and residential. Goodness knows the city levies taxes as if it already was Scottsdale, but we’re a long way from emulating that city’s upscale ambience.

Such high-fallutin’ aspirations will take a huge step backwards if the Department of Corrections has its way. The state says it needs 5,000 more prison beds. It may decide to put all the beds at one location, or spread them out. In addition to Perryville, existing penal facilities in Yuma, Winslow, Eloy and Phoenix are also being considered. My vote is for Yuma, a former territorial prison. The only thing it has going for it is that it is half way to San Diego.

**Editor’s Note.  Produced below is the aforementioned email from Bill Stipp to Jewel White, who I am told is Bill Stipp’s sister.  How disingenuous is that?  I’ve told you that Stipp cannot be trusted as his previous history shows and as I have documented elsewhere in howardsgoodyearblog under “About Bill Stipp”  Here is Bill’s response to Ms. White.

— In pebblecreek@yahoogroups.com, “The White House” <laruewhite2@…> wrote:
>
> To All Pebblecreek
>
> I sent an email to Bill Stipp,City Councilman, and this is the response I
> received regarding the prison discussion.
>
> Jewel White
>
>
> From: “Bill Stipp” <bill.stipp@…>
> To: “The White House” <laruewhite2@…>
> Cc: “John F. Fischbach” <John.Fischbach@…>; “Georgia Lord”
> <Georgia.Lord@…>
> Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2011 8:24 PM
> Subject: Perryville Prison
>
>
> Mrs. White,
>
> Thank you for contacting me about the Perryville Prison expansion proposal.
> I understand that it is frustrating to you that no one from the City of
> Goodyear was present. I know that the council being on break can appear as
> though we are not engaged in the situation or that there is some level of
> apathy on our behalf. I can assure you that is not the case. I had a
> previous commitment to speak on behalf of the city at the Community
> Development Advisory Committee at the County regarding a request for a
> federal HUD grant, which was approved during that meeting.
>
> Although several council members are out of the area while council is
> officially on break, city staff has been working diligently on details,
> proposals and concerns regarding the Perryville Prison matter. They have
> reached out to our legislators, the Governor’s office, the Department of
> Corrections, the GEO group, and others. The city attorney has had
> discussions with the state attorney general about concerns, details and
> objections regarding the selection of the site for the proposed expansion.
> The city manager has also had discussions about the location with the
> Department of Corrections and is aware of the situation, as well. Staff is
> looking into all aspects and objections raised by the city’s residents about
> the proposed expansion. They are actively working every angle to better
> understand the proposal to expand Perryville.
>
> It’s important to understand that the law prohibits council members from
> expressing opinions on the matter until after the public hearings have taken
> place. The public hearings were the beginning of the process, which will
> allow council to reach a consensus. The Perryville Prison expansion
> proposal will be on the agenda of the Council’s August 22 meeting as a
> business item for discussion and possible action. At that time, city staff’s
> recommendations will be presented to council.
>
> I truly appreciate the fact that you’ve made a point to contact me about
> your concerns, objections and expectations regarding the prison. Rest
> assured, I share your concerns. Goodyear is a wonderful city with great
> promise for the future. I will convey your concerns to all of the people
> involved in the decision-making process. Although I was not able to attend
> the Wednesday night meeting, I understand the frustrations and worries that
> were voiced there.
>
> The city is working hard and putting every effort into representing the
> citizens’ best interests and serious concerns. The process is not fast, and
> it can be a difficult road. I assure you, your voices are being heard and
> your objections are being taken to heart.
>
> I encourage you to contact the Department of Corrections and our state
> legislators and share your worries, your objections, and your concerns.
> Although it may take time, I will do my very best to keep you posted and let
> you know more details as they develop.
>
> Bill Stipp, Councilmember
> Office of the Mayor and Council
> 190 N Litchfield Rd
> Goodyear, AZ 85338
> 623-606-7389
> bill.stipp@…
> All messages created in this system belong to the City of Goodyear and
> should be considered a public record subject to disclosure under Arizona
> Public Records Law (A.R.S. 39-121). City employees, City public officials,
> and those who generate E-mail to them, should have no expectation of privacy
> related to the use of this technology. If you are not the intended recipient
> you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action
> in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.

AZ Republic Changes Their “Fact Check” on howardsgoodyearblog to 4 STAR TRUE


The Arizona Republic updated their “Fact Check” on me to “TRUE” on their web site, but to my knowledge they never published it in the paper again.

If you would like to see this updated “Fact Check” published in the newspaper, you can email the author, Eddie Traviso and ask to have it re-published at; edna.trevizo@arizonarepublic.com

Here is what they now have on their web site;

http://www.azcentral.com/news/election/azelections/azfactcheck/fact-story.php?id=238

How many 4 STAR TRUE “Fact Checks” do you see in the Arizona Republic, eh?  LOL.

Open Letter to Goodyear City Council


I sent the following email to everyone on Goodyear City Council (using my easy to use email address list which you can find in the column to the left I might add).

To Goodyear City Council;

Last night several of you made good points regarding the stadium amendment agreement that came up.The discussion then turned to going back after the past few years’ charges (after Gary Gibbs brought it up). That was a good idea and it added to the discussion.

But as a result of that discussion it came out that there are no past few years’ charges to save because the amendment that you were asked to approve confirms how the city has been operating with the teams all along.  Your approval to this amendment was just a rubber stamp to confirm how things have been operating all along.  I hope you all realized that.

Here is my point.

To the casual observer (like citizens sitting in the audience) city council looked completely uninformed.  Turns out you were not uninformed, Fischbach MISINFORMED you. The agenda item ( Ballpark Amendment ) says;

“COMMUNITY BENEFIT:
The clarification provided in the amendment will result in the City saving approximately $25,000 to $43,000 per year in processing fees related to ticket sales.”

But there really are no “savings” in this case.  There will be no reduction in stadium operating loss as a result of your approval of this amendment because there is no change in the current process, it’s what they’ve been doing all along.  Do you think Fischbach would have pointed that out to any of you if some of the questions had not been asked?

This to me is just another example like many I have seen where city council has been misled by city management and you are all made to look bad by those of us who are willing to read the fine print.

This is no different, in my opinion, than Fischbach claiming that he’s saving money year over year because of new hires that he didn’t make 3 years ago.  Or last night where the budget lady said that the Non Departmental was a “contingency” when there is already a $16 mil contingency in the budget anyway, or telling you that the budget is “balanced” when Projected Revenues are $172 mil and Total Expenditures are $ 213 (pg 69 at the bottom of each of those column headings).

It is just bogus, folks, and I think after seeing it done so often in Goodyear that it is done with forethought and intent.  I have been saying the same thing to anyone who would listen to me since the second CBC meeting after I took home the handouts and read them.
Howard Brodbeck

PS.   Good questions by Stipp last night.  I hope he keeps it up.  It will put city management on notice that someone is doing their homework.  He looked to be the only one who read the material in preparation for the meeting last night.  He even had questions that had not been pre-prepared to make a political point as I have so often seen happen in  city council meetings.

Stipp’s Golf Game


Goodyear firefighter group raises $11,000 at golf tournament

6 comments Mar. 11, 2011 12:08 PM
The Republic|azcentral.com

Yes, I know this is an old article but I just saw it today for the first time.  Stipp playing golf with the firefighters.

Stipp’s $1.6 million life time disability award is based on his bad back.  In his own write up for why he could no longer perform his job as the result of the 3 year old injury, that no one witnessed, and for which he did not require medical attention, he says he is, “unable to sustain torsional loads/impacts to my pelvis without the loss of stability”.  Here is Stipp’s memo. Stipp injury memo0001

Here is the article.

The United Goodyear Firefighters Association charity organization raised more than $11,000 at a golf tournament.

The proceeds will benefit the Goodyear homeless youth program, Foundation for Burns and Trauma’s Arizona Burn Camp and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

slideshow Photos

The homeless youth program assists junior high and high school teens who are homeless, providing them with places to live and eat, clothes and counseling. The free one-week Arizona Burn Camp for child burn victims is designed to help the children build self-confidence and self-esteem.

A total of 144 people participated in the March5 tournament, including Avondale Councilman Ken Weise, Goodyear Vice Mayor Joe Pizzillo and Goodyear council candidate William Stipp.

Firefighters raffled off several prizes in a silent auction, including a two-night stay at the La Princesa de Peñasco resort in Rocky Point, Mexico, the use of a luxury box at Goodyear Ballpark for 15 people for a spring training game, a football autographed by an Arizona Cardinals player, a baseball signed by a Cleveland Indians player, and golf bags.

AZ Republic Publishes Retraction Exonerating howardsgoodyearblog


It’s getting tougher and tougher these days to be an independent blogger who disagrees with the status quo and the entrenched, establishment news media.  The West Valley Screw manages to incorrectly print everything I send them, someone started up a “Happyville” blog to try to discredit me (and shut it down after they would not say who they were), and two weeks ago the Arizona Republic fabricated out of thin air an evaluation of what I printed in a blog from February about Goodyear’s poor personnel management and published it as an “AZ Fact Check” claiming that I had my facts wrong.

Well I didn’t have my facts wrong and today the Arizona Republic printed a retraction and here it is. AZ Rep Fact Check Retraction0001

If you ever thought that big media corporations don’t have a vested interest in protecting their turf by trying to discredit the competition (local bloggers like me), think again.  In the May 27th AZ Fact Check that AZ Rep wrote about me (and which they have now removed from their web site) they prominently mentioned my blog name, howardsgoodyearblog, several times as they proceeded to trash me and my post about Goodyear’s abysmal personnel management processes and how Goodyear has allowed a conflict of interest to occur in the management of their local Police and Fire Retirement Board. But do you think they would do me the same favor and mention the name of my blog in their retraction??

HA!  Think again.

Is this just petty jealousy by a news organization, or is this the impact of having high powered Democratic lobbyists from Phoenix supporting a local candidate (AZ Republic identified Bill Stipp as the anonymous employee example that I referred to in my Feb 22 blog)?

After multiple emails and a few phone calls AZ Republic relented and at the end of the day they had to admit that my facts were correct when I stated that Bill Stipp is in a conflict of interest situation by holding his position on the local Goodyear Police and Fire Retirement Board.  The local board is the one who would initiate a review of Stipp’s medical condition to see whether or not he should continue to receive his estimated $1.6 million award for an injury that a) he claims happened on the job three years before he made his claim, b) no one else witnessed, c) Stipp wrote the one page fill-in-the-blanks accident report for, d) Stipp did not require medical attention for at the time, e) the city did not immediately have him examined by the city’s industrial medical provider to determine the extent and cause of his injuries, f) the resulting disability claim he submitted occurred not long before he decided to run for public office.

To be clear, I’m not saying Stipp doesn’t have a bad back.  Many of us have bad backs.  But the city, through it’s lack of proper personnel procedures failed to establish whether or not Stipp’s bad back was as a result of the 2006 incident he reported and his claim three years later (2009) for medical disability.   The city should have insisted that he go to the city provider if for no other reason than to establish the extent of his injuries as a result of the incident or if he had any pre-existing conditions.  Anyone who has worked in private industry knows that even minor on the job injuries should be immediately reviewed by the employer’s industrial medical provider if for no other reason than to establish a doctor’s review of the seriousness of the injury at the time it occurs in case of future potential claims by the employee. This is especially true for claimed back and spine injuries.

Goodyear’s lax personnel management procedures, as well as their loose Police and Fire Retirement Board evaluation of cases as exemplified by Stipp’s case leaves the city vulnerable for other city employee cases which if not properly vetted at the time of their occurrence are just waiting for a disgruntled employee to decide he or she wants to make a claim for life time medical disability.

Of course Goodyear Director of Personnel Jeanni Ruddy had a smart reply to all of this when I told her that some of her personnel processes were broken and an employee had received a millions of dollars award after only 8 years on the job.  She wrote in an email to me,

“The disability funds that are paid to Mr. Stipp do not come out of City funds,

but are funded by the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.”

Great answer, Ms. Ruddy.  That’s the kind of city employee attitude we need watching out for our tax dollars.

Who is Jewel White and Why is She Saying Those Nasty Things About Me?


Jewel White wrote a letter to the WVV a few weeks ago excoriating me regarding a letter I wrote the previous week about Bill Stipp’s lack of understanding of the financial situation in Goodyear.

Jewel said that I had written (and she put it in quotation marks), “that “Stipp “misstated stadium data” .  Here is her entire letter. Stipp Jewel White LTTE

Well, I thought, Jewel either did not read or did not understand what I had written.  That is because I said that Stipp had improperly stated that everything financially was fine in Goodyear when he spoke about the General Fund.  I then used the stadium mess to point out that things will not be OK in Goodyear financially for many years to come at least because of the stadium mill stone we have.  Here is my entire letter. Stipp LTTE re goodyear financial position

As I prepared to send a ‘zinger’ to Ms. White, I went back first and copied both my original letter and hers as published in the WV View in order to begin my counter.  Wouldn’t you know, there, in the title of my WVV letter to the editor it said, “Stipp misstated stadium data”.

The West Valley Screw had struck again.  The title to the letter I had submitted to the editor was not “Stipp misstated stadium data”  what I submitted as a title was, “Bill Stipp and the Goodyear Ball Park”.  I just wanted to show how ludicrous a statement it was for Stipp to say that all is well financially in Goodyear.

So now I know that Jewell White can actually read ok, the WVV just can’t.  Although the rest of what Jewell had to say about the city’s bond ratings  and audits is completely wrong and misleading as I explained in a blog post on March 19th, here it is; (https://howardsgoodyearblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/city-of-goodyear-employees-this-might-interest-you/)  The reason Goodyear’s WATER bonds were upgraded is because Goodyear is OVERCHARGING for water and transferring the extra money to the general fund in order to pay for the messed up capital projects we have like the ball park.  As I explained in my previous blog bond holders love bonds that are “over covered” and that is why the ratings were improved.

And Jewel, as far as audits go, all they say is that the books are being kept properly, nothing about how the city is being managed.

This was my third letter to the WVScrew.  They’ve gotten all three of them wrong now.  They skipped language in the first one and did not format it correctly, they wrote 0% instead of 80% in the second one, and also changed the title to misstate the point and in my last letter, they left out “Pile of Sh**” which is the actual name of the article from Stoughton Ma. which describes the fire station that Bill Stipp built. $3.2 million Pile of Shit  That omission made my letter seem choppy at best.

So when the WVScrew says they don’t change their Letters to the Editor, I can assure you, they are not telling the truth.

On May 6th WVScrew published an email I sent them asking them to print a retraction/explanation but they have done neither.

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