Stanton, Gullett prepare for Nov. 8 run-off election - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

Stanton, Gullett prepare for Nov. 8 run-off election

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Posted: Friday, September 2, 2011 8:00 am

One day after mayoral election results were announced candidates Greg Stanton and Wes Gullett were back at work trying to get their messages out about their plans for the future of Phoenix.

Gullett released a statement reiterating his goals for the city of Phoenix. He mentioned keeping a laser focus on the economy, a safe city, strong neighborhoods and a government we can afford. Gullett said he plans to reform government by repealing the food tax, making long-term changes to operations, making city pay raises align with performance, consolidating departments in the city in order to cut red tape and instituting a model procurement code. He pointed to his "Four Steps to Better Government" available on his website, wesgullett.com.

Stanton released his plan for his first 100 days in office.

"One of the things that will be very important for residents of the city as they make their decision is who is ready to lead," Stanton said on a conference call with members of the Phoenix media. "Who is ready from day one? Our focus is not just on campaigning but on leading. What does the city look like if I'm selected mayor?"

Stanton promised to make his office a "substantive policy shop."

"When Mayor Gordon leaves City Hall in early January his office will be clear," Stanton said. "Those positions will be open. The reality is I'm not creating any positions. I'm saying the mayor's office should be a policy shop. Public policy analysis and proactive activity should be coming from the mayor's office. I want to hire people that have substantive policy experience."

Specifically, Stanton said he wants to have an education advocate, a sustainability expert, a local business advocate and a homeless advocate in his office. He pledged to spend no more on personnel in his office in his first year than Gordon did in his last.

Stanton also mentioned pension reform in his plan.

"The issue of the pension has become an appropriately important issue in this race," he said. "We're going to have some tough decisions to make relative to cutting costs and reducing pensions. The best way to do that is in an atmosphere of trust, partnership and transparency, not by creating false adversarial relationships.

"If you talk to any CEO in this town they'll tell you that if you're going to ask for a sacrifice from your employees you darn well better have a very good relationship with your employees. That's a real strength that I bring to the table."

City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who endorsed Peggy Neely, said he is still making his decision on whom to endorse. He added that Neely's loss was not a huge blow to his reform agenda.

"I endorsed a few candidates and Jim Waring looks like he won and that's going to be critical to the reforms here at the city of Phoenix." DiCiccio said. "I think the message of reform is still there. If you look at the election, all the candidates were talking about the issues we brought forward."

Neely did not hold a public celebration Tuesday night but released a statement that thanked all her supporters and said she would wait until the final results were announced to make any additional announcements.

DiCiccio said Wednesday that he had not talked to Neely yet, but added that losing a campaign was always hard to deal with.

"The first month or so is the hardest time for any candidate that lost. It's a serious time of reflection," DiCiccio said. "People start to realize how important they really are when they're not in office."

DiCiccio plans to announce his new endorsement for mayor next week. The run-off election will take place Nov. 8.

"We need a real leader that's going to come in here and change the system, shake it up and make it more accountable to the taxpayers," DiCiccio said. "Just talking about it isn't going to do it. There's going to have to be a tough conversation. It's going to be a decision, regardless of what anyone says, between status quo and the reforms I've been talking about for the last few years. That's what it comes down to. It'll be fascinating."

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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