PLEA has posted web and RECAP articles over the past two years on the controversy over Chief Jack Harris serving in the same position that he retired from while drawing a salary and pension benifits in what appears to be a violation of state pension laws. A group of current and retired officers along with citizens are partnering with Judicial Watch in suing Harris along with the local Phoenix Police Pension Board over the issue. In these drastic economic times when City is faced with a quarter of a billion dollar deficit, City employees across the board were forced to take pay and benefit cuts to avoid layoffs. On top of this, a 2% food tax was levied against the citizens of Phoenix to generate additional revenue to asist with the budget crisis.
In the context of a distressed police pension system designed for front line public safety servants, this decison clearly appears inappropriate. Considering the refusal of the City of Phoenix to allow professional police officers access to personally purchased rifles, protective summer headgear, and common sense police placard identifiers, one questions the City’s priorities of approving payement for Jack Harris’ personal retirement decisions.
It appears that the City Council may now approve payment to cover the legal defense fees of a police manager. This raises the question; How much more of a financial burden are the taxpayers of Phoenix expected to bear?