Two new bills aim to change the way Phoenix is run - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

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Two new bills aim to change the way Phoenix is run

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Posted: Friday, February 18, 2011 10:31 am

The "best run city in the world" could be run a little better, according to City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who drafted two new bills that he believes will make the city of Phoenix operate more efficiently.

The two bills, Senate Bill 1322 and Senate Bill 1345, aim to create more opportunities for small businesses, lower costs of city services and cut pay and benefits for some Phoenix employees to make them more consistent with the private sector.

The two bills are what DiCiccio calls "the most controversial bills" in the state Senate right now.

The first bill, SB 1322, would require cities with a population of 200,000 or more to seek outside bids for services that would cost $50,000 or more. DiCiccio claims the bill would lower costs for services by opening those services up to the possibility of competition and would create opportunities for smaller businesses.

The second bill, SB 1345, aims to make hiring and compensation for city employees a little fairer. DiCiccio believes city employee pay should be closer to the annual compensation and benefits paid to private sector employees that operate within the city's jurisdiction.

"Clearly, Phoenix has built for its employees a compensation package that is well beyond its means to sustain and grossly unfair when compared to the private sector - the taxpayers who pay for it," said a fact sheet put together by DiCiccio.

Critics of the bill say $50,000 is too low of a benchmark and reviewing all the possible bids would take too long and cost too much. The bid process can take anywhere from three months to a year, said Thelda Williams, vice mayor of Phoenix. She believes the bills go too far and will end up costing the citizens more for less quality.

"Once you choose a bid you need to hire, train them, teach them city laws," Williams said. "We'll lose quality, consistency and, in the long run, it will cost us more. I think any city that this bill is applied to will be thrown into chaos."

While Williams agrees that changes need to be made she has different methods.

"I am for some changes, just not these," she said. "We need fewer bosses and more worker bees. Really just more productivity."

Both bills exempt police officers, 911 operators, judges and firefighters.

So far the bill has been passed in the Senate Government Reform Committee. It will now be heard on the Senate floor.

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