Disregard of taxpayers evidenced in Phoenix, Mesa salary increases & UPDATES

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.

Laurie Roberts’ post on Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos —  David Cavazos is getting HOW MUCH of a raise? can be read here.

E .J. Montini’s column on Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos —  Gordon Gekko for city manager? can be read here.

UPDATE  — December 12, 2012:


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.



13 Responses to Disregard of taxpayers evidenced in Phoenix, Mesa salary increases & UPDATES

  1. Macbeth says:

    These outlandish raises are a slap in the face of those who work their butts off to pay these inflated salaries. But remember, David Cavazos was not elected by anyone. He was appointed. And from the newspaper report I read in the links quoting Councilman Michael Nowakowski (self identified as Hispanic despite Polish surname) he defended Cavazos as the most qualified candidate for the job, not downplaying the ethnicity angle. “It’s sending a message out there that we are going to be diverse, not only diverse within the Latino community, but we also have a large African-American, Asian, Native American and LGBT community,” said Nowakowski, who nominated Cavazos. “So it’s diversity, and our management should look like the city of Phoenix.”

    Apparently actual qualifications come in far behind “diversity.” After Cavazos was suspended for flagrant and very expensive policy violations, he should not have even been considered for the city manager position. This is what affirmative action produces.

    I applaud Councilman (now Vice Mayor) Michael Johnson (who is black) for having the integrity to stand up against this appointment. But he was the sole member of the city council who had the principles and courage of his conviction to do so. A belated “Bravo!” to the Vice Mayor.

  2. Fed Up says:

    When was the last time you got a 33 percent raise? I would imagine the answer is NEVER for each person reading this. And think of all of those workers across America (lucky enough to have a job) who received a 1.7 percent raise…if they got one at all!

  3. LD 7 PC says:

    All true, but lets not give the Mesa mayor and council a pass. There is a definite lack of integrity with ALL of these people. I felt like I needed a shower after reading this post.

    I’m for dumping all of the Phoenix Council members who voted for David Cavazos. He should have been charged with a crime for the fraud he oversaw instead of getting a slap on the wrist and ‘time out’ before his promotion and excessive salary.

  4. Doc says:

    After what we’ve seen today regarding our elected State & Federal morons, why does this suprize anyone?


  5. Doc says:

    Gotcha’ Vince…but GUARANTEED that some of th’ crooks involved in this were elected…over&over&over&overagain……

  6. eubykdisop says:

    A Saga of Term Limits (in 3 posts)

    “N.Y. City Council extends term limits for mayor, other officials”

    “October 23, 2008”

    “The New York City Council on Thursday voted in favor of a bill that would extend term limits, allowing Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for a third term.”

    “The vote was 29 in favor and 22 against.”

    “Bloomberg, who introduced the measure, welcomed the council’s approval as the “right choice.”


  7. eubykdisop says:

    “New Yorkers Strongly Back Shorter Term Limits”


    “Published: September 6, 2010”

    “Two years after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg extended the limit on New York City’s elected officials from two terms to three, paving the way for his re-election, nearly three-fourths of city voters favor reversing his move, according to a New York Times poll.”

    “The remarkably unified public support is a rebuke for Mr. Bloomberg, who overturned the results of two voter referendums when he asked the City Council to rewrite the term limits law in 2008.”


  8. eubykdisop says:

    “A voter rollback on their ‘terms’ ”


    “Posted: 3:46 AM, November 3, 2010”

    “New Yorkers overwhelmingly restored the city’s two-term limit for elected officials last night, two years after Mayor Bloomberg successfully pushed to overhaul the law so he could run for a third time.”


    Net result: Bloomberg, probably the most dangerous Liberal in the U. S., got himself a third term.

    Exit question: How did Bloomberg win his third term election when 75% of voters opposed extending term limits to three terms and overwhelmingly voted to restore the two term limit?

    Still believe in the fairy tale of election integrity?

    If there is one thing to put at the top of the list it is establishing election integrity.

  9. Dennis O'Brien says:

    Thanks for the UPDATE. Not much of a surprise that the AZ Repulsive would support this massive raise for David Cavazos. I have an inkling they might not have been so charitiable with our money had his name been…er…say…”Dennis O’Brien.” What do you think?

  10. Ajo Joe says:

    Irish ain’t cuttin’ it these days. my friend.

  11. MesaRes says:

    Realize that one reason the same people get elected over, and over, and over again is because most people either can’t afford to run for office, or they can’t afford to hold an elected office. On top of that, most employers won’t allow employees to run for office because of the time it takes away from their full time job.

    I read somewhere that Mesa’s council hasn’t had a pay increase since something like 1994, so I think they are way over due. Shoot, I live in Mesa and would gladly pay extra for the council we have. Mayor Smith and the rest of the Council have done a great job setting a path for the city, and then seeing that that path was followed. They continued to develop Mesa when other cities were sitting around feeling sorry for themselves or implementing tax hikes. While the State was struggling to balance their budget, Mesa made tough decisions and balance its own, all without shutting down half the amenities or laying off employees.

    As for the car, I think they should get something, but not sure it should be $300/month. My guess is that it’s more of a supplement for gas so they don’t have to track mileage.

    $80 per month for a cell, yeah I’m cool with that. Their phone records can be reviewed at any time because of the Freedom of Information Act. If I were in their shoes, I’d want to know that Joe citizen couldn’t comb through my personal phone records with my friends and families numbers there for everyone to see.

    Phoenix, that’s a whole other story for sure.