Spiking Pensions in Arizona

Phoenix’s former City Manager repeatedly turned down annual raises. But the Arizona Republic reports, behind the scenes, Mr. Fairbanks was instead tacking on unused vacation and sick days, as he accepted salary hikes along the way to boost his final three years of salary to $1.3 million. As a result Mr. Fairbanks will retire with an annual pension of $246,813 a year. These actions were perfectly acceptable under the rules of Phoenix’s pension system, in contrast to the plans operated by the state government. Due to its design Phoenix’s pension plan is slated to cost the city $93.7 million this year, the equivalent of its parks budget.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio would like to see the system changed but thinks the only way it can happen is by citizen intitiative. The law prohibits the city from increasing the employee contribution, and prevented Mr. DiCiccio from stopping his own pension benefits when he left office.