A very experienced CPA once told me, " I can make the figures say whatever you want them to say."

After sitting through the last two "public informational" meetings hosted by the Phoenix city manager and his minions, I finally understand completely what that CPA was referring to.

This battle around the proposed city budget is not an issue about just the police or firemen of this city, it is about two main topics which are not being addressed by those we have elected to look out for the welfare of we the taxpayers.

The first issue is one that has many of us extremely worried, the transparency not supported by the mayor, city manager and the majority of the City Council. The key here is just like when you catch your kid in a lie. The first thing they do is try to justify the lie. When you call "bull" on that, they come up with another tall tale to support their first lie.

But they continue to think they are smarter than you are and keep telling the big story. That is exactly what I see with the city manager, mayor and the majority of our City Council.

Why has it taken months to have access to the details of this budget and why has the city manager obfuscated the budget figures with budget projections based on negotiations of two years ago? Why do these managers tout savings based on non-existent staff positions? Why do the mayor and councilmen promote a tax on food in the Valley just to cover pay raises for all city employees? Why does the city continue with business practices that cost the taxpayers more than any private sector business pay? Why are two councilmen being castigated just because they have the intestinal fortitude to question why these actions exist?

And that brings us to the second big issue. The city manager is chartered to manage our city on behalf of the taxpayers, yet, negotiations with all the union groups indicate that these negotiations are weighted heavily in favor of the union members only.

Why? Who is minding the store when you are giving it away faster than the taxpayers can fill it?

Every City Council meeting I have attended leaves me wondering. I listen to city taxpayers voicing their questions and their opinions, but do not hear anyone giving any answers or valid solutions, just dog and pony stories. Nobody cares!

David Hurley

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