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?”


Snowing in Goodyear Becomes Secret Meetings Blizzard in Surprise. Is This the New Goodyear Forecast?

434 days and counting until Goodyear residents get to take back Goodyear city council from special interest groups like union PACs, developers, and other business PACs (Georgia’s Money) and start to return Goodyear to fiscal sanity. The terms of the three “creeker” incumbents, Campbell, Gelzer, and Lord expire in 2013 as well as Pizzillo’s.

Goodyear city council elections; May 15, 2013.

Goodyear city council primary elections; March 12, 2013.

Deadline for petitions to run for council; December, 2012.

Goodyear needs FOUR good candidates to run against these government cronies.  Who is going to step up?

And now the article;

Recent events in Surprise and activity in this legislative session make it timely to re-look at what is going on in Goodyear and elsewhere around public union driven meet and confer ordinances like the one Goodyear city council approved last October as a payback to Goodyear city council’s union campaign contributors. Georgia’s Money

howardsgoodyearblog on Meet & Confer  All other hgb Meet & Confer Articles.

Recent Goldwater Institute comments on secret meeting language updates to Surprise’s Meet & Confer Ordinance. GWI Article

GWI “It’s Snowing in Goodyear” article. Snowing

Cavanaugh on History of GY Meet and Discuss/Confer

by Mayor Jim Cavanaugh

On 27 October an Al Lewis blogged on howardsgoodyearblog that in contrast to a comment I made on that same day, neither I nor council ever voted on “meet and confer” during my 11+ years on council.   In response to his suggestion, I did review the meeting video from the 10/24 council meeting, also read the power point presentation and reviewed the approved ordinance.  The ordinance references an earlier ordinance from 2005 that the new ordinance changes.  I could not pull up the 2005 ordinance on the Goodyear website but assumedly, (in contrast to Al Lewis’ blog comment), that ordinance reflects a decision of council to continue the informal processes in which the public safety union associations met with the city manager to express their concerns but not to approve the highly formalized mandatory “meet and confer” rules.

However, an assumption is not enough so I called two former councilmembers who had served during the early 2000’s.  Both recalled voting in opposition to a proposal from the unions to adopt “meet and confer” in Goodyear.  One former councilmember even recalled the name of the person presenting in behalf of the “meet and confer” advocates, the location of the meeting (the justice facility on Litchfield Rd), and the vote count, which was 7-0 against “meet and confer.”  I was one of those seven votes.

The current city attorney spoke of our vote as merely part of an evolutionary cycle leading to eventual confirmation of “meet and confer.”  That comment does disservice to 27 years of council decision-making in which “meet and confer” failed to achieve status as an approved and mandatory method of negotiation between unions and city management.  Our council explicitly stated, “NO” to “meet and confer.”  We did not say, “Consider our vote as sort of a transitory negative and take it up with another council later”.

For 27 years, since 1984, elected representatives of the people of Goodyear have been either unanimous in opposition or unwilling to consider the establishment of “meet and confer” in our City.  These representatives felt as I do that “meet and confer” is not necessary to compensate an already nicely compensated public safety force and may very well result in increased costs and reduced effectiveness in government.

To defend the 7-0 decision of this current Council in favor of implementing “meet and confer,” one must attempt to explain what is different today versus the past 27 years, i.e. why does this council deem “meet and confer” necessary when 27 years of councils did not deem it necessary nor appropriate? Neither the public safety union officials nor their Al Lewis-like pawns want to answer that question, so they simply deny the existence of earlier council actions or qualify the actions as merely misguided efforts in an evolutionary cycle.  To my knowledge, police and fire have always been treated with fairness and respect, and their compensation packages reflected same.  That hasn’t changed.  However, one thing has changed from past councils.  In this year’s 2011 elections, public safety unions from throughout the State of Arizona contributed amounts far surpassing any previous union level of campaign financial support to Goodyear candidates.  In fact, five of Goodyear’s elected leaders were on the receiving end of significant union financial support.  That is what changed after 27 years.

GY Passes Super Employee Class Ordinance for Public Safety Employees

Against the advice of even the conservative Goldwater Institute, GY city council on Monday passed the Meet and Discus/Confer ordinance which according to some had been demanded by city public service unions as a quid pro quo for public service election endorsements and campaign contributions from other Arizona city’s public service union PACs. 2011 10 Ord

The vote was unanimous.

The new ordinance creates a special super class of GY public safety employees recognizing them over and above not only other GY employees but also regular citizens by giving them special access and treatment with the city manager especially on budget matters.  This is done even though only 30%, not 51% of the “Employee Groups” as defined in the ordinance need to be in favor and support the process to put it in place.

The mostly union member public safety employees will elect their own employee group representatives to develop their agenda and bring their demands to the city at budget time.

How about the rest of you employees and especially taxpayers out there?  Why don’t you get your own process and special meetings with the city manager where he is required to respond to in writing?  No, citizens get 3 minutes if they are willing to go wait around for hours at council meetings until it is their turn to speak.

And GY city council doesn’t even have to respond to you.

More from the Goldwater Institute on Meet & Confer.  GWI Article

Goldwater Institue Reply to Al Lewis, by Nick Dranias

Nick Dranias, on October 20, 2011 at 9:40 am said: Edit Comment

Al Lewis, your claims about Arizona law are simply not true

Arizona lacks statutory collective bargaining authority, but it does not prohibit it and local “meet and confer” ordinances make up the difference. Although public sector unions in right-to-work states, like Arizona, still assiduously refuse to equate “meet and confer” and “collective bargaining” laws, the distinction between “meet and confer” and “collective bargaining” laws no longer makes much of a difference. When such laws first appeared, “meet and confer” laws authorized public sector unions and government management to engage in entirely optional collective negotiations. They were enacted to displace a backdrop of common and statutory laws that prohibited even voluntary negotiations between public sector unions and public employers. Labor advocates later applied the term “meet and confer” to laws that compelled public employers to engage in “good faith” negotiations with public sector unions, but which did not require government to agree to a union contract.

Today, both “meet and confer” and “collective bargaining” laws usually authorize state and local governments to reach binding contracts with public sector unions—contracts that can bind the hands of subsequent legislatures and city councils because of the constitutional protection afforded contractual obligations under federal and state constitutions. Moreover, if unions believe the negotiations are not being conducted by their employer in “good faith,” both “collective bargaining” and “meet and confer” laws empower public sector unions to seek administrative or judicial intervention to compel public employers to bargain. See Phoenix v. PERB, 699 P.2d 1323, 1326-29 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1985) (“It is apparent from the foregoing description that the meet and confer ordinance establishes a procedure whereby City management and employee representatives are expected to negotiate in good faith and reach an agreement concerning wages, hours, and other working conditions. It is anticipated that the negotiations, which are the essence of the meet and confer process, will produce a memorandum of understanding reflecting the agreement between City management and the employee representatives. Importantly, the final decision-making authority is expressly reserved to the Phoenix City Council because the memorandum of understanding is not to be effective until it is approved by the Council . . . . The employee organizations have only suggested, and correctly so, that the terms of the meet and confer ordinance be followed and that issues which are subject to negotiation be, in fact, negotiated as a predicate to final action by the City Council.”); see also AFSCME v. Phoenix, 142 P.3d 234, 235 n.1 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2006) (“In pertinent part, the term “meet and confer” means the performance of the mutual obligation of the public employer through its chief administrative officer or his designee and the designees of the authorized representative to meet at reasonable times, including meetings in advance of the budget making process; and to confer in good faith with respect to wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment or any question arising thereunder, and the execution of a written memorandum of understanding embodying all agreements reached”).

In short, both labels have come to denote essentially the same thing—laws that require public employers to bargain, i.e. negotiate, with public sector unions in good faith over wages, benefits, terms and conditions of employment. And however they are labeled, such laws are heavily influenced by the National Labor Relations Act. Courts enforcing them look directly to National Labor Relations Board precedent for guidance. In addition to the ability to compel public employers to remain at the bargaining table until “good faith” is demonstrated, these laws deploy many other aspects of the federal doctrine of “unfair labor practices” to hang a legal threat over public employers who refuse to yield to union demands. This power to keep—or threaten to keep—a public employer indefinitely engaged in a costly rope-a-dope of court-supervised contract disputes and negotiations gives public sector unions significant legal leverage in bargaining, which is roughly equivalent to that wielded by private sector unions under the NLRA in more than two-thirds of the nation’s states. As a result, “a considerable amount of bargaining does transpire” in states such as Arizona notwithstanding local reticence to describe such bargaining as “collective. See Richard C. Kearney and David G. Carnevale, Labor Relations in the Public Sector 65-66 (3rd ed. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, 2001).

Readers Comment on Meet & Discuss/Confer (M&D/C)

Yesterday I posted an article by the Goldwater Institute regarding the city of Goodyear getting “snowed” by GY’s public safety unions. I received four very good comments plus a response from the Goldwater Institute in resply to a trashing GI received by one of my readers.

I have posted all the comments except the GI one (too long, but there is a link to it) in this article so that they get wider exposure and perhaps generate even more enlightening conversation about this issue. Rather than reply to each comment separately in the reply area of the previous post, I’ve added my comments to each of them below in bold.

1. First from Sean Rassas, who ran for GY mayor last time out;

Meet and confer was the absolute most important priority for both union presidents during the last election cycle. Any endorsement they were willing to give was directly related to whether a candidate would push for meet and confer. Anything you have that you could share with us that would substantiate this would be appreciated.

2. Next from Wendy Freeman who ran for GY city council last time out;

I guess we now know who those candidates were.  Correct me if I am wrong but every single council member who won last time was “endorsed by police and fire”.

3. Next from reader Scott Lawson (I don’ t know who Scott Lawson is or if that is his real name. Scott, if you’d care to identify yourself further, I’d appreciate it, just send an email to howardsgoodyearblog@gmail.com);

Do these unions now have collective bargaining agreements with the city? Today, there are no written , signed, contractual agreements in the formal sense between the city and any unions who may have city employees as members.  There are city HR policies and city “rules” which apply to all city employees, however, and these are ostensibly written by and implemented by city management.  If so, what new or additional advantages do they see from Meet & Confer? That is a really good question.  I think I discuss this relatively thoroughly below in another comment but I’d like to find out if anyone from any of the unions would like to comment answer Scott’s question?  Why do you want it? What does it add/do for you? The Goldwater article says, ” “meet and confer” and “collective bargaining” laws are essentially the same. Both severely limit the freedom of governments to require efficiency, savings or productivity from their unionized employees.  ” http://www.goldwaterinstitute.org/article/6371 Goldwater says they could sue, but I don’t see any reference to that in the proposal. Any one in American can sue, Scott.  The powerpoints appear to be prepared by the city, who works for council, most of whom were endorsed by GY police and fire and took contributions from other city’s police and fire union PACs in the last election and Rassas says above that the endorsements were a quid pro quo of  support for M&D/C so I’d say read the ordinance directly (as I do below) to make your own determination. Are suits prohibited by existing agreements or laws?.  No, I don’t like the sound of this, but I don’t follow what the catch is. Fill me in. More below.

4. And today from Al Lewis who has commented several times before (Hey, Al, are you Albert B Lewis, Jr. of 16279 W. Sherman St., Goodyear, AZ who recently opened up a business called Al’s contracting? Let me know by email, would you? howardsgoodyearblog@gmail.com);

Submitted on 2011/10/20 at 7:31 am

Editor’s note; remember, my comments are in bold.   And again, in fairness to Goldwater Institute, Al’s comments have been replied to by the author of the GI “Snowing in Goodyear” article but I did not include them here.  But here is a link to GI’s comments if you would like to read them, they are all the way at the bottom;


With all do (due, Al) respect to Mr. Rassas and Mrs. Freeman that sounds like sour grapes (I always love comments that start out with name calling, {NC} they are so much more believable that way, aren’t they?). I think these two will jump on any opportunity to bolster their standing for their next political attempts more NC.

Had they attended the meeting, or watched it from home as I did, Maybe they did, Al.  I prefer to read the ordinance than believe what city council puts in power point presentations. They are politicians, you know, but maybe that’s just me. they would realize that Arizona is a right to work state. Correct. Let’s look at what that means.  It means that no one can be refused employment if they choose NOT to belong to a representative group like a union because as an individual they should have the same rights and standings as any group. The US is a republic where you are represented but in right to work states the workplace is treated as a democracy.  And the reason for that is so that individual employees’ rights are not subordinated to some elected group which may or may not be dominated by union leaders with an agenda. Here is the AZ Constitution Art. 25 (but there are more laws (see below) that determine all of this http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/const/25/0.htm )

There is no “collective bargaining” allowed in Arizona nor are local governments required to bargain in “good faith” with any associations.  Probably correct, I won’t debate it. In summary, from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation here are all of the related AZ laws that implement Art. 25  AZ Right to work laws summary 

Now might be a good time to review the presentation that the city gave at the meeting Al refers to as well as the actual ordinance. Here is the city powerpoint and here is the ordinance proposed ordinance . What this power point shows is that a formal process would be put in place to give the employees a CERTIFIED “Employee Organization” (EO. When stuff is capitalized in legal jargon that means that term is “defined” somewhere legally) that would give the EO the “right” to “represent” the Employee Group (EG. Lawyers hide stuff in agreements that they don’t want to be too obvious by making multiple references to different parts of the agreement to make you fish through definitions and what not in order to make it more difficult for you to understand what they are really trying to accomplish).  EG is not defined but I’ve asked GY for the definition.  EO is defined in the ordinance as,

” Public Safety Sworn Employee Organization: An organization representing employees within an Employee Group for the purpose of engaging in the Meet and Discuss/Meet and Confer process”. 

Further in the ordinance it says in the Meet and Discuss portion that the main job of this CERTIFIED EO, will be to “initiate… for the following Budget Year… written recommendations”.

And guess what?  In the same ordinance only 30% of EG members are required to “certify” the EO. I think 51% would make more sense, don’t you?

So let’s recap. 

Instead of each employee representing him or her self, now police and fire will elect with as few as 30% of their members a special “CERTIFIED” group who will appoint leaders who will “represent” them.  Where does that put the individual employee in the pecking order?  Or how about GY citizens?  If we’re going to have a CERTIFIED EO with unique abilities and special rights, can we also then have a CERTIFIED Citizens Group who can submit our issues direct to city management and sit down and get our budget items considered by GY city council?  Not just any citizen who gets only 3 minutes to speak at council meetings and can’t respond when council berates them, but a CERTIFIED Citizens Group who can debate with council and has the ear of the city manager by ordinance! 

But wait, it gets better.  After Meet and Discuss, comes Meet and Confer.  In meet and confer the ordinance states;

“Only those issues identified in the Certified Employee Organization’s initial proposals and those raised by the City Manager and/or in the City Manager’s response shall be discussed during the Meet and Confer process, unless otherwise mutually agreed”.

Not individual employees, not citizens, ONLY the CERTIFIED EO.

This is a collective bargaining system, just like a pig is a pig.  You can choose not to call it a pig, but there is no doubt that it subordinates the individual to the defined EO and since we already know that the union’s reps will be on the EO, one can see the intent.

To answer Mr. Lawson’s question they WOULD NOT have the ability to sue, Al, read what you just wrote. Everyone in America has the ability to sue. What turnip truck do you think we have all just fallen off of?  they would have no ground/merit. Al, they are a defined, CERTIFIED EO with unique, special abilities awarded to them in a written GY ordinance. Stop joshing us, Al. Just read the powerpoint, folks. I did Al, and as you can see from my comments above I also read the ordinances because the powerpoints were prepared by the city manager and/or a consultant (who either he or the unions hired) who works for the city council who all signed on to get this thing passed for the unions who endorsed them and had their brother unions from Mesa, Flagstaff and elsewhere contribute to their election campaigns (in order to circumvent GY City Rule # 700). Like him, I don’t understand what the catch is either. Why don’t you ask that question of the people who made the city council presentation, Al? It seems to me that giving the people who protect us a “voice” with out giving them collective bargaining is a non issue. The issue is giving a city defined, union dominated, certified EO special authority that ordinary, individual employees don’t have. Why do you feel they don’t have a voice now, Al?  Do you believe as I do, that GY is that badly run and they are mistreating their employees?  If so, you are agreeing with me on a lot of things Al,  https://howardsgoodyearblog.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/goodyear-personnel-management-out-of-control/  and if you have some info on what has formed your opinion, I’d like you to send me the info that you have so I can publish it. “No Voice” or “We need a voice” sounds like something we heard during the Wisconsin protests from union members occupying the capital building in Madison.

I was very disappointed to learn that the Goldwater Institute, an organization I usually find very informative, decided to try and promote fear mongering vs. real information.  I think I’ve pretty much dispelled that statement, don’t you think, Al and the guy from GI told you off pretty good, didn’t he?

As a great researcher Why, thank you, Al. I encourage you to look into to some of the case law, like I did, and get back to your readers about what meet and confer actually is.  And that is what this post has been all about, Al!  Case Law?  I can read the ordinance and the powerpoints just like everybody else. We all understand where this is heading, it’s all about power.  Giving power to a few rather than leaving it distributed to the many.

Here are a few case law points made by the labor attorney And who hired him? at Mondays work session (power point available on-line) here is the powerpoint, Al  Littler Presentation .

Public sector collective bargaining is prohibited in Arizona
–Ariz. Att’y Gen’l Op. 74-11; Ariz. Att’l Gen’l Op. I06-004
–A public employer cannot enter a binding agreement with an employee association because doing so would constitute a delegation of authority and violate elected officials’ responsibility to make decisions
–A public employer may not enter an agreement that would supersede or conflict with the County Employee Merit System

–“Although a memorandum of understanding may result from the process, no binding agreement may be the production of such negotiation; final decision-making authority is necessarily reserved to the public employer.” Ariz. Att’l Gen’l Op. I06-004.

It seems to me that you would applaud any decision that takes power away from the city manger and leaves the ultimate decision in the hands of the elected officials (the people)…but then again we disagree on a lot of things that make sense Name Calling again.

What I think, Al, is that we have a bunch of incompetent council members with an agenda in this case to fulfill their promises to some of their major contributors. And so, Al, you both start and end with name calling.  I’m also not certain where your city manager/power comment comes from or refers to. Is John Fischbach writing these for you, Al?

Goldwater Institute Says, “It’s Snowing in Goodyear”

Goldwater Institute article about Goodyear considering passing “Meet and Confer” ordinance for GY’s public safety unions.  Do yourself a favor and read this.


The ordinance is already written, (here it is proposed ordinance )and it is already on the agenda to be discussed.  Who do you suppose made that happen? Do you think that GY city council would prepare an agenda item to consider something if you or I just asked them to?

More payback. Take note of who on GY city council supports this and compare it to what I wrote in March of this year;


What the AZ Republic or the West Valley View should do now (but they probably won’t) is submit a Freedom of Information request to GY for all correspondence to or from any GY city council member that references the meet and confer topic and all correspondence from any GY union reps.  Same for Fischbach and all his direct reports, plus the lawyer (although I expect GY will say anything the lawyer is copied on is “attorney client privileged”).  Then they should report back to you and tell you who’s been pushing this.

Why aren’t I making that FOIA request?  Maybe because of what I wrote in the article link above and also what I wrote in May of this year;


There are some scary guys out there when you start writing stuff about GY public safety unions and I’ve saved emails from some of them that demonstrate it.  Best of luck, Goodyear, you and your “free press” are on your own on this one.

More from GWI on Meet & Confer. GWI Article

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