Phoenix Interim Mayor Thelda Williams and Councilwomen Laura Pastor and Debra Stark slammed Councilman Sal DiCiccio in a statement on Friday for using "scorched-earth tactics and bullying [that] have become a cancer at City Hall."
"Yesterday, Sal sent yet another media release that deliberately spreads lies and falsehoods," Williams, Pastor, and Stark said. "Sal's repeated false attacks on city staff are a special kind of cowardice because he knows full well they cannot respond."
"His aim is clear: create an environment so vile and toxic that good, decent and talented employees no longer want to work for the City of Phoenix," the statement continued, adding that although DiCiccio's tactic "may be acceptable in other places, it isn't here."
In recent days, DiCiccio has ramped up his verbal, melodramatic attacks on city employees and leadership. On Thursday, he issued a statement titled "SHIP OF FOOLS," with the subheading, "City Management Fails Again." In it, he put forward a list of what he called "major fiascos the City management has failed at," chief among them the council's rejection last week of a proposal to increase water rates in 2019 and 2020.
A day earlier, the ratings agency Moody's had warned that the top-notch credit rating of Phoenix's water utility was at risk because the council had not passed the proposal to increase water rates.
DiCiccio himself voted against the rate increase, which failed 5-3.
Nevertheless, in his statement, he blamed city management for bringing on "another fiasco." Management, he claimed, had screwed up by scheduling a vote they couldn't pass, and thus created doubt at the ratings agency.
In the statement, DiCiccio also neglected to mention his own misleading tweets, Facebook posts, and news releases that described the proposed rate increases as a "HUGE $1.5 BILLION" water tax.
The increases, which would have brought in about $50 million per year, would have raked in $1.5 billion over a period of 30 years. City water managers requested the money to fund badly needed infrastructure ahead of a looming drought on the Colorado River.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The day before, DiCiccio had issued another statement saying that the politicians who voted for the rate increase "have gone insane."
By Friday, it seemed, enough was enough, although what impact this rebuke will have on DiCiccio remains to be seen.
"Our most important jobs as elected officials are to find solutions to the challenges our community faces and build a brighter future. That's what real leaders do," Williams, Pastor, and Stark said in their statement. "We are continually disappointed that our colleague Sal DiCiccio has chosen the opposite."
"We want to make clear that we value our employees, honor their service, and are proud to speak up for them – especially in situations in which they cannot speak up for themselves," they added. "We are grateful for each and every one of these dedicated public servants."