Governor Jan Brewer Vetoes Measure Requiring Cities to Open Services to Competative Bids

Governor Jan Brewer vetoed Senate Bill 1322, a measure that would have required the state's large cities, namely Phoenix and Tucson, to open up certain city services to competitive bids from private companies.

Brewer said it was "riddled with shortcomings"

"It's a good victory for now," says Luis Schmidt, vice president of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) Local 2384. "We hope that [Councilman Sal] DiCiccio gets the message and stops spreading lies about city workers."

City workers and local union members had expressed concern about their jobs if the measure became law, and questioned the quality of the services that would be provided by the lowest bidder solely interested in making a profit.

Phoenix workers marched around the state Capitol for days hoping for this outcome.

One worker held up a sign: "I don't want to drink low bid water."

DiCiccio, who has been beating the drums about privatizing city services, took the bill to lawmakers when he couldn't get support for his ideas on the Phoenix City Council.

While it was approved in both the House and the Senate and sent to the governor's desk on April 20, Brewer criticized lawmakers' attempts to micromanage municipal governments.

"While I can agree that all levels of government must continue to find ways to cut costs, I am becoming increasingly concerned that many bills introduced this session micromanage decisions best made at a local level," she wrote in a letter explaining her veto decision. "What happened to the conservative beleif that the most effective, responsible government is the government closest to the people?"

DiCiccio has been preaching about various ways save money and get Phoenix out of its financial crisis -- targeting civilian unions and repeating that the average employee costs the city $100,000 -- he is often criticized for his misleading message and hypocrisy.

DiCiccio picks on the civilian unions but steers clear of the more politically influential police and firefighters unions that helped get him appointed to the City Council.

When he decries the heavy burden that employees create for the average taxpayer, again, he leaves out police officers and firefighters from the equation.

It is disingenuous to say the average employee compensation is $100,000 when the only way to reach that "average" is by including public-safety salaries, critics say. These salaries are usually higher and make up more than 70 percent of the city's budget.

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