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9th April
written by Sean Noble

The Arizona Republic reports that it costs taxpayers an average of $100,000 per City of Phoenix employee. That’s not to say that some City of Phoenix employees don’t deserve to be paid appropriately for their work, they should. The rub is paying full-time employees for things that could easily be outsourced – like auto repair. How many companies do you know of that employ their own auto mechanics? Yeah, yeah, I’m sure Swift Transportation or Knight Transportation does, but that’s apples and oranges.

There is nothing wrong with sending cars that need to be serviced or repaired to a private auto shop. It would save taxpayers money, and the private company would have incentive to do a good job for a good price because they would want the repeat business.

The second rub is that we have City of Phoenix employees making more money than comparable jobs in the private sector. That doesn’t seem to make sense.

City Councilman Sal DiCiccio has been one of the few voices trying to educate people about what is going on, and he’s taking on some powerful interest groups, including the employee unions. It’s refreshing to see someone on the council who has the courage to take on the establishment and actually stand up for the average taxpayer.

Here is an interesting excerpt from the Republic story:

“Public-sector employees should not get paid more than their boss, the taxpayer,” DiCiccio said. “It’s skewed so far it’s almost embarrassing.”

The councilman has upset Mayor Phil Gordon, some council members and labor groups by proposing to outsource certain “non-strategic” city jobs to the private sector. For example, Phoenix spends $31 million a year to have city mechanics repair vehicles, he said; only $10 million is outsourced. He would like to see more work sent to private mechanics.

Luis Schmidt, a spokesman for the union that represents mechanics, said outsourcing those jobs could put police officers, firefighters and other employees who drive city vehicles at greater risk. Schmidt argues that city mechanics are better trained and more accountable than their private-sector counterparts.

So DiCiccio has upset the Mayor, other council members and the unions. And the mechanics union spokesman says police and firefighters would face greater risk if their vehicles were repaired by mechanics in the private sector. Seriously? That has to be one of the most absurd arguments I’ve ever heard.

We need more Sal DiCiccio’s standing up for the taxpayers. As a resident of Phoenix, I offer my personal thanks to the Councilman.

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  1. Ken

    As a voter and taxpayer in Sal’s district, I greatly appreciate his efforts. Too bad he’s in the minority.

  2. […] Read more here: DiCiccio, The Taxpayer Watchdog | Noble Thinking […]

  3. 10/04/2010

    Given the pressure in private industry has to get tasks done fast I wouldn’t dispute that it might be better to have vehicles serviced by government employees.

  4. RonJ

    The government should not be doing ANY work in competition with private industry. It’s immoral and should be illegal for the government to take money from its citizens at the point of a gun and then compete with them in the marketplace. Thankfully, there are towns and cities around the country that are “outsourcing” services to the private sector. Good for them. More government entities should do the same. There are only a few services that government alone should provide. Vehicle repair is not one of them.

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