Phoenix City Council votes to limit pension spiking - KMSP-TV

Phoenix City Council votes to limit pension spiking

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PHOENIX -

In a meeting that got rowdy, the Phoenix City Council voted Thursday to cut down on pension spiking by city employees.

Just what is pension spiking?

An extreme example would be former Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos.

Without pension spiking he would've received a pension of $146,000. But with it -- he's going to get $235,000.

That's a difference of $89,000.

He spiked it by claiming unused sick pay and other perks as income to compute his pension.

After a 5-to-4 vote by the council: the biggest change will be eliminating counting future vacation and sick leave toward a pension for all employees.

A tense, emotional scene Thursday. The Phoenix city council chambers were packed with current and former employees. Many of them didn't want the council to pull the rug out from under their pensions.

"I am appalled, literally appalled that you would even consider breaking your contract with the city of Phoenix employees," says Judy Haynall. "Shame on you."

"For a person like me, lunch person employee, I do not get that, so you are singling out the people who provide essential services to the community here," says Bruce Levitz.

Others said it's time for a change.

"I appeal to this body of leadership, we should all join together in this request. Spiking benefits the few for the sacrifice of the many," says Nancy Zimmerman.

The council was sharply divided. Some members praised the reforms.

"It is addressing the problem, it is making recommendations, it is making definitions, and it is lawful," says Councilwoman Thelda Williams.

But others said the changes won't make a serious dent in the problem.

"If you look at it how this whole thing is set up, it has been gamed. It was gamed from day one, it is gamed now, you will win as union leaders and the taxpayers will lose today. Thank you mayor," said Councilman Sal DiCiccio.

The changes take effect July 1st next year.

Mayor Greg Stanton says they will save an estimated $130 million over the next 25 years.

Related story: Phoenix City Council considers ending pension spiking

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