Millions of dollars are being paid in “retention bonuses” by Valley cities while they’re laying off employees, cutting pay or raising taxes in the struggle to deal with the current economic crisis.
What justification is there for giving these bonuses when Arizona’s 9.3 percent base unemployment rate has drastically reduced staffing turnover?
In Phoenix, workers qualify for bonuses once they hit the maximum pay for their job and have six years with the city. About half of the city’s nearly 14,000 employees will receive a total of $14.3 million in retention bonuses this year. Yet in order to balance the current budget, the City Council cut $270 million, or 22 percent, from Phoenix’s general-fund budget, including $156 million from programs and services.
The daily has the full report here.
Some Valley cities offer bonuses based on longevity. Check out this list published in the Arizona Republic.:
– Avondale: No.
– Chandler: No.
– Glendale: Yes. Nearly $300,000 paid to 173 firefighters and 232 staff hired before 1992.
– Gilbert: No.
– Goodyear: Yes. $104,000 paid to about 200 employees with five or more years of service.
– Mesa: Yes. $4 million to approximately 700 workers.
– Peoria: Yes. $23,940 paid to 57 employees hired before 1989.
– Phoenix: Yes. $14.3 million paid to 6,989 employees.
– Scottsdale: No.
– Tempe: Yes. $572,226 paid to 311 police and firefighters.
Given the dismal economy and the high rate of unemployment, how likely is it employees of Valley cities would be leaving their jobs — retention bonuses or not? These payouts, using taxpayer dollars, are nothing short of unconscionable.
For starters, Phoenix’s globetrotting Mayor Phil Gordon, should have his wings clipped.