Now we know why public unions wanted to be put on the citizens committee working hard on private sector job creation, streamlining government and steering Phoenix out of the recession: To stop it all.

After demanding — and receiving — seats on a task force helping Phoenix streamline its operations, union leaders today staged a “strategic walk-out” in the middle of the last meeting — creating a lack of quorum. That halted the group’s work.

On the eve of a historic decision in Wisconsin over the power of public unions, this walk-out illustrated the power that unions have over City Hall. It also shows their power to stop small private-sector business owners from getting regulatory relief and the power to get millions in pay raises for themselves while the public struggles to make ends meet.

When a previous group of efficiency-improvement recommendations from this task force was passed by the City Council, city public union leaders demanded a seat at the task force table. They’re the ones who know the issues first-hand, they argued. I thought it was great that they wanted input, and I thought it was fantastic that they would get to hear the problems of the private sector and how hard this economy is on our small business owners.

I guess they didn’t care about that after all.

They made it clear by their strategic walk-out that their goal wasn’t to add information. It was to stop progress.

I made a commitment to move forward these recommendations even though they will be facing an uphill battle. There will be a concerted effort to delay these proposals from being heard by the City Council on its scheduled date of June 19.

But the public doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for government to get its act together. Nor should small business owners be subjected to public union walk-outs.

You have my commitment to make Phoenix the best place in the country to do business, to carry forward recommendations to streamline city government, and on June 19, as planned.

By the way, the committee’s business members — even though had other engagements and weren’t being paid to be on the committee — stayed to finish their job.

Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio represents District 6, which includes Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach him at council.district.6@phoenix.gov or (602) 262-7491.

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