City Councilman Sal DiCiccio of Ahwatukee Foothills is vowing to keep pushing for efficiencies in Phoenix government after Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed Senate Bill 1322 on April 28.
The governor's veto put an end to a bill promoted by DiCiccio that would have required Phoenix and Tucson to seek bids from the private sector for some costly services.
"While I can agree that all levels of government must find ways to cut costs, I am becoming increasingly concerned that many bills introduced this session micromanage decisions best made at the local level," Brewer said in a statement declaring the veto. "What happened to the conservative belief that the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people?"
DiCiccio said this week that he was very disappointed by the governor's decision.
"Everybody that helped work on this thing, especially a lot of the citizens, were very disappointed in the outcome," he said. "We've all been talking and meeting on it and we're going to continue to move forward because it's the right thing to do for the city of Phoenix. We need to restructure. When your average cost per employee is $100,000 per person and then your first-year clerk gets 40.5 days off you've got a significant problem that needs to be fixed."
DiCiccio believes that by requiring the city to seek private bids for services costing more than $500,000 the city could have found more efficient ways to do things and it would help them compete in a global market. He added that the bill does not require cities to accept the cheapest service and that they would still have control, just more choices.
Those opposed to the bill said the veto shows Brewer's support of local government.
"I think basically that her general feeling was that as state government does not appreciate the federal government dictating to them how they should operate, the city government should have their own local control," said City Councilman Claude Mattox, who is a candidate for mayor. "(Brewer) did not believe that this was proper for the state to be dictating to Phoenix and Tucson."
Mattox said the city of Phoenix has no need for this kind of legislation because it's currently conducting efficiency reviews and has no problem outsourcing services when appropriate. He added that the city has almost a half-billion dollars in contracts with the private sector.
DiCiccio believes the efficiency reviews are good baby steps, but that the city needs to be doing more. He does not plan to stop promoting this kind of change to city government.
"We're going to take more than one track," he said. "We're going to continue to work with the city and get them to move a little faster in fixing things. They're taking some baby steps and that's fine. Those are steps that are necessary at this time. Second step is we're going to talk about what the next bill looks like through the Legislature. Third is going to be taking it directly to the voters through a state-wide initiative, which would be a constitutional change that would require efficiencies in local government. From what we've seen the majority of the public wants to see better efficiencies in local government."
DiCiccio said he received many threats from city union workers about the bill, including a group called Save Phoenix Taxpayers, who filed a recall petition. Employees working for Petition Partners, a company that collects signatures for political purposes, have been outside grocery stores in Ahwatukee Foothills asking for signatures to get DiCiccio out of office. Attempts to reach Petition Partners or Save Phoenix Taxpayers went unanswered.
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