Tire Change Saves City of Phoenix $275,000; Employee Honored for Idea

Governments often choose the lowest bidder for products and services to save precious taxpayer funds. But as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

Tom Crider of the City of Phoenix's Public Works division didn't like the way the city's low-bid tire was performing on municipal vehicles, so he decided to test other models -- and found an inexpensive alternative.

The idea saved the city a whopping $275,000 in annual tire costs.

Crider was among several Phoenix employees honored today for their extra initiative. In a time of extreme budget cuts, the city could use more of this out-of-the-box thinking by bureaucrats. Scroll down for the names of other honored employees and team efforts: 

Patricia M. Rea, Police - Patricia M. Rea located and negotiated rental space for the Police Department's Code Enforcement Unit, and she coordinated the complex move to the new site.

Heather Roye, Police - Heather Roye assisted with a major state audit and helped crime victims for the Family Investigation Bureau.

Larry Franklin, Public Works - Larry Franklin solved an electrical problem that was causing loaders to break down. His efforts resulted in significant cost savings for the Public Works Department.

Jocelyn K. Hanson, Office of Arts and Culture - Jocelyn Hanson secured grants and partnered with arts groups to offer arts education in after-school programs.

Gisela Pittman, Finance - Gisela Pittman worked effectively with the business community to complete 41 sales-tax audits, generating $2 million in sales-tax revenue for the city.

Ed Miller, Parks and Recreation - Ed Miller made inexpensive containers that dispense recycled grocery bags that park users can use as "mutt mitts."

Kim R. Humphrey, Police - Kim Humphrey helped the city develop a steroid-abuse policy that became a model for law enforcement nationwide.

Cathy Weekley, Police - Cathy Weekley developed a computer program and procedures to help the Property Crimes Bureau investigate identity theft.

Ted Koester, Parks and Recreation - Ted Koester volunteered to design and build tables and benches for the dining room at Camp Colley, a Parks outdoor camp in northern Arizona.

Employee Teams:

Petroleum Stores - The team converted 79 diesel storage tanks from dyed fuel to clear fuel to comply with a new state policy.

Lake Pleasant Water Treatment Plant Design Build Operate Project - The team played a key role in the design and construction of the water treatment plant, the largest "design-build-operate" project in North America.

e-CHRIS v8.9 Upgrade - The team completed a major upgrade of the city's human resources computer software, making it accessible to all employees and retirees.

Intelligent Transportation Systems Communications Network - The team developed and improved a system for controlling more than 1,000 traffic signals and other traffic devices around the city.

Take Back Your Neighborhood, Prevent Gun Violence - The team led a campaign to fight crime in four Phoenix neighborhoods by organizing community events and a successful gun-collection drive.

Adaptive Reuse - The team helped small investors convert older, abandoned buildings into viable businesses, such as restaurants and shops.

45X Team - The team worked with community organizations to help the homeless, a project that significantly reduced crime near two homeless shelters.

Light Rail Traffic Signal Inspection - The team supervised the construction and inspection of more than 100 traffic signals along Phoenix's 13-mile-long METRO route.

Light Rail - The team devoted many months to the light rail project, which was completed on time and under budget.

Crypto Response - The team led the city's response to a parasitic outbreak at city pools last year. The pools re-opened in less than two weeks because of the team's efforts.

Utility Disconnect Prevention - The team developed a pilot project to provide energy education and utility assistance to eligible households within the 85032 zip code. The area has the highest utility-disconnect rates in the city.

Papago Golf Course Restoration - The team partnered with the nonprofit Arizona Golf Foundation to restore Papago Golf Course.

Shopping Cart Retrieval Program - The team was instrumental in the success of the shopping-cart retrieval program. By 2008, the program had removed 11,000 abandoned carts from neighborhoods and recovered its start-up costs.

Engine 7 A-Shift - The firefighters refurbished the home of a decorated World War II veteran after finding the man, a Navajo Code Talker, living in squalor.