"Everything at the City of Phoenix is geared toward the employees," DiCiccio said. "The taxpayers come last, always." See Undisciplined Bureaucracy: Civil Service Job Protections Make Disciplining a Problem Government Employee Complicated, Costly and Time Consuming
An extremely good bill, HB2115 passed its first Committee hearing on 1/28/2015: 6 in favor, 2 against, 1 absent. It would have passed 7-2, because Rep. Justin Olson (LD25), who was absent, was one of the bill’s Primary Sponsors. But it has a long way to go to become law.
Please recall from my original article, Rep. Warren Petersen (LD12) crafted this legislation as a deterrent, making public officials think twice before illegally spending thousands of taxpayer dollars, thinking they can walk away with lucrative taxpayer-paid benefits or severance pay. After watching the committee hearing, including Phoenix Council member Sal DiCiccio’s comments, it’s clear that government employees enjoy far more "job protections and tolerance for bad behavior" than private sector employees.
In the case of Stephen Banta, CEO of Valley Metro, following an investigation by The Republic, they reported that Banta was reimbursed with taxpayer funds for flying first-class, buying alcohol, staying in $600/night hotels, and eating in some of the most expensive restaurants in Portland, charging all of it to the taxpayers, while running Valley Metro. This included 44 round-trip airfares between Phoenix and Portland from February 2010 to July 2012 for Banta and his wife. The Republic also found that Banta was reimbursed for dinners that included guests who said they didn’t attend those dinners.
In spite of all this, Banta was awarded $265k in an annuity upon termination of employment.
Democrat Lela Alston (LD24), who voted against the bill, commented: "Maybe his contract should have read: ‘You can’t take your wife on vacations using public funds.’" Democrat Jonathan Larkin (LD30) agreed.
In another recent case
Rep. Warren Petersen has crafted legislation that will have a chilling effect on public officials who illegally waste money and then walk away with lucrative benefits or severence pay. It’s HB2115 Simple, straightforward, brief. (This bill is scheduled to be heard Jan. 28 at 9:00 am in the Government and Higher Education Committee. See ACTION at the end of this article.)
Should a public official who is caught and terminated for fraudulently, lavishly spending taxpayer dollars on meals, travel, hotels, entertaining, etc., go on to receive lucrative payouts, annuities, pensions, and other benefits?
Rep. Warren Petersen doesn’t think so, and neither do the many other sponsors and co-sponsors of this excellent bill. HB2115 spells out that anyone who is found guilty would forfeit any future benefits. While there already are laws on the books against fraud and misappropriation of public funds, these cases don’t always get pursued as the official is fired or even allowed to quit.
HB2115 ensures that these public officials forfeit any future benefits. States Petersen: “All too often, those who are caught and terminated leave with lavish payouts, annuities, pensions and other benefits. Termination from a high position in government office should not be like winning the Lotto. Rewarding someone for bad behavior can only encourage more of the same.” See Petersen Seeks to Prevent Lavish Payouts to Errant Public Officials.
Two cases come to mind:
Elouise Justice, a precinct committeeman with the Gila County Republican Committee, recently wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Payson Round-Up. It was published on April 25, 2014.
The Navajo Generating Station, near Page, Ariz., provides power to Nevada, Arizona, California and Indian Nations. The Environmental Protection Agency has demanded more stringent regulations be put in place to alleviate perceived unhealthy air pollution, which doesn’t exist. The EPA will allow the Navajo Generating Station to continue operation until the year of 2019, which is when the extended original lease expires.
The lease can be renegotiated at the time, but only with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, who will have to receive a completed study by the EPA, which usually takes as long as five years (anyone remember the Keystone Pipeline?).
The EPA will allow the NGS to continue operations until 2044 if $1.1 billion is spent on equipment that costs annually $20 million to operate. Prior to investing in such a horrific venture, the owners have to wait to have the new lease in place, which will be pending until the Secretary of the Interior issues his approval.
I’m sure that Fox news reporter Dennis Lynch did not anticipate his actions on April 12, 2014. He suddenly realized that Clive Bundy was right. The Bundy family was right. The patriots who stood facing down the BLM thugs with AR-15s were right. No matter what the letter of the law stated, it was an egregious unjust law. And then, Mr. Lynch discovered what he was made of.
You want the cattle? Moooolon Labe!
What you will see here is American citizens facing AR-15s, and breaching the gate forcing the BLM to drop their weapons. These American citizens would rather die than be slaves to a tyrannical government.
Don’t be fooled into believing that the BLM cares about a bunch of dusty, old tortoises that are supposedly endangered.
Think about it. In the name of the poor, dear tortoises, the BLM just spent millions of dollars to round up 300 of Cliven Bundy’s "trespassing cattle." They managed to kill about 130 of them in the process. Why? Because, not only don’t they care about a bunch of tortoises, they also don’t care about a bunch of cows. Using their helicopters they ran many of them to death in 100-degree desert heat. Many of those cows were pregnant and weren’t given veterinary care; many of the newborns that survived their births died from lack of nourishment and callous treatment; many cows were fat with milk, having been separated from their newborn calves. Each cow that died at the hands of the BLM thugs had a value of about $1500.
The BLM had enough money to pay thugs to intimidate, taser, and throw Americans to the ground. The BLM had enough money to hire cowboy mercenaries to help round up Cliven Bundy’s cattle. The BLM had enough money to send over 80 brand new shiny trucks to Clark County. The had enough money to arm their thugs with helmet, body armor, and AR-15s.
Yet, the BLM didn’t have enough money to feed the desert tortoises at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, so they euthanized them. See Desert Tortoise Conservation Center plan to Euthanize Hundreds of Tortoises in Nevada.
Put on your thinking cap. Does this make logical sense? Of course it doesn’t! Because it isn’t the truth.
In fact, the federal government doesn’t care about any endangered species. If they did, they wouldn’t allow the wholesale slaughter of every "endangered" critter that gets cooked by SOLAR and chopped up by WIND.
So, what do the federal government and their corporate cronies care about?