Phoenix mayor announces plan to prohibit pension spiking - CBS 5 - KPHO

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Phoenix mayor announces plan to prohibit pension spiking

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City manager David Cavazos City manager David Cavazos
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Some people have said he's taking the money and running; Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos has accepted a high-paying job in Santa Ana, CA, but he's taking a decent pension plan with him. And Wednesday, the mayor announced that he wants to prevent this from happening again. 

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has appointed Vice Mayor Bill Gates to chair the newly formed Pension Fairness and Spiking Elimination Ad Hoc Subcommittee.

"We must end the practice of pension spiking at the city of Phoenix," Gates said in a statement on Monday. "While I believe pension spiking should end immediately, we must analyze the possible ramifications - including legal challenges - of any actions we take with regard to pension spiking."

CBS 5 News first told you about Cavazos' new gig about a month ago; he's leaving to become one of the highest paid city employees in Santa Ana, raking in more than $500,000 a year in salary and benefits.

But he'll also be collecting a hefty pension from the city of Phoenix, especially after the City Council approved a $78,000 raise last November - that's a 33 percent increase - bringing his salary from $237,000 to $315,000. 

Now reports are surfacing that Cavazos' unused vacation and sick time contributed to his take-home pension. So Stanton and Gates announced they will not make this same mistake twice. When it comes time to approve a contract for their new city manager, unused vacation and sick time will not be part of the calculation for pension payouts. 

The City Council also appointed an acting city manager Wednesday - Assistant City Manager Ed Zuercher. According to the city's website, he has been overseeing finance, aviation and public transit, and he serves on several subcommittees, including transparency and ethics. 
 
Cavazos leaves the city of Phoenix in October.
 
Councilman Sal DiCiccio released the following statement.
 
"By targeting only police and fire's vacation and sick time for pension spiking but allowing high ranking managers to continue clearly shows the conflict of interest that created the current pension system. Pension spiking cheats the public and should be stopped for everyone. This reaffirms the ability of individuals to make more money in retirement than while they were working."

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