Phx City Manager David Cavazos gets $78,000 raise for a base salary of $315,000 – excluding perks
The City of Mesa will be implementing some substantial pay increases for its mayor and council members. The current salaries of approximately $38,000 for the mayor and $19,000 have been bumped to $70,300 a year for the mayor (a $32,300 yearly hike) and $35,200 (a healthy bump of $16,000), respectively. But that’s not all. Car allowances, currently $150 a month, will be raised to $450 a month for mayor and $300 for council members. They will all keep their current $80 monthly mobile phone allowance. If you’re starting to get a bit steamed, calm down. These large increases are not nearly as high as those originally considered. The daily reports the initial amounts of $80,000 for mayor and $60,000 for council members were reduced during a “tense meeting” last month that led to the resignation of a citizen’s commission member, who objected to the lower amounts and said the commission had been subjected to heavy political pressure.
But cool your jets. There’s even more. And this outrage comes from Phoenix, the city that in 2010 instituted a 2 % tax on food in order to allow the city to function — or so we were told.
In the next best thing to winning the lottery jackpot, Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos is the lucky recipient of a 33% raise, which amounts to an extra $78,000 a year! He will now be pulling down a base salary of $315,000 a year plus a $600 monthly car allowance, $35,000 a year in deferred compensation, and a $4,000 “longevity” bonus.
This is nothing new for Phoenix. In December 2009, $14.3 million was paid in “retention bonuses” to nearly 14,000 employees. This, as the City Council cut $270 million, or 22 percent, from Phoenix’s general-fund budget, including $156 million from programs and services in order to balance the city budget. Other Valley cities with high numbers of union workers followed suit.
There was no pink slip for David Cavazos, the fool of a city manager, who as acting deputy city manager, was suspended for a week without pay after an internal investigation found that city workers spent more than $280,000 in taxpayer money on questionable travel expenses. Though such irresponsible actions didn’t impede Cavazos’ accession to the top job, they speak volumes about his utter and longstanding disregard for taxpayer dollars.
With a 33% raise, Cavazos doesn’t have to deal with the realities contained in this Christian Science Monitor report detailing that average pay increases, among those who receive them, will be 2.7% — matching the rise of consumer prices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data on salaries was even more dismal, showing an average 1.7 % pay increase.
This morning, the sole and lengthy editorial in the newspaper defended this excessive raise. Although columnists Laurie Roberts and E. J. Montini rightly blasted this massive pay increase yesterday, the daily jumps to its defense today, in a piece titled, Right move despite timing. This support for what would be an unthinkable pay increase in the best of times, but inconceivable in today’s troubled economy, should give heart to the staffers at the dying newspaper. Since Phoenix, the city that imposed a food tax on its citizens to “keep essential services” running, can be this generous, the Republic staffers should expect a hefty pay increase in their Christmas stockings from their dying employer the AZ República.
UPDATE — December 12, 2012:
MESA NIXES RAISES
After an outcry from residents, Mesa’s city council and mayor have decided to forego the pay increases proposed by a salary commission. The raises would have required a vote of approval from those receiving the salary boosts. After contentious debate, the council voted 4-3 against taking the raises.
The East Valley Tribune has more here.