The Ahwatukee Foothills News editorial board is giving its nod to Wes Gullett as the preferred candidate for mayor of Phoenix.
It is our opinion that City Hall needs new blood, and that Gullett will work well with those already on the council to make the changes necessary to rein in government spending by trimming the city budget and putting forth a sensible plan for pension reform that has worked for corporations across the nation. Gullet has already been endorsed by our very own District 6 City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, showing that current members of the council feel he is someone with whom they can work. His "Seven Point Jobs Plan" is a no-nonsense and easy-to-understand strategy for creating quality jobs and putting Phoenix on the path to economic recovery and long-term growth.
Gullett has a wealth of experience to draw on from the business world and brings a much needed fresh perspective from outside the current City Hall environment.
Through a realistic approach of proposed changes at City Hall, Gullet realizes that in some cases, like with his 401(k) proposal to replace the broken pension system currently in place, it will be necessary to pay the price that has been kicked down the road by previous governments in the interest of not passing a larger expense to future generations.
Giving merit-based pay increases to 90 percent of city employees in this economy is an excellent example of how disconnected City Hall has been from what's going on around them. Gullett's proposal to cut those merit increases to 30 percent of city employees shows that he is conscious of the current fiscal state of the city, and is looking to cut the fat out of the system. He believes in renegotiating employee benefits packages to save money and to better match the realities Phoenix residents currently face.
Gullet wants to have a model procurement code that is transparent so everyone who goes into the process knows how the system works. He recommends zero-based budgeting and would like to move City Council meetings to night so that the average resident, who works during the day, can attend and become more involved with the process.
Gullett is a businessman who understands what it takes to make business thrive in our community. He has a plan to cut red tape for small business owners, which is the life blood of Ahwatukee. Along with DiCiccio and three other councilmen, Gullett wants to bring forth same-day permitting and perform self-certification through the entire process of construction to allow businesses to work on their timetable, not the city's time line.
Gullett, himself, told this editorial board that he is running for mayor "because we have to get Phoenix back to work," and that, in our opinion, is a great start in this tough economy.