"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