Phoenix Law Enforcement Association

City Council Looks to End “Pension Spiking”

As everyone knows, public safety pensions have once again come under attack by groups who claim police officers “make too much money” for doing a difficult and dangerous job.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio makes no bones about it that one of his goals is to end “Pension Spiking” for all City employees. This term is used by the media to refer to a negotiated benefit of being able to purchase back unused sick and vacation time at a percentage of full value, which is used to increase total compensation for a given year when calculating pensions.

This benefit was originally negotiated for police officers and firefighters, however, mid and upper level managers adopted the practice, including City Managers, who were able to include car and cell phone allowances in addition to unused sick and vacation leave as part of their total compensation.

On Tuesday, September 13, 2013, following a violent weekend in the Valley where two members of the Special Assignments Unit were shot and injured, one seriously, the City Council held what was refered to as a “Pension Fairness and Spiking Elimination Ad Hoc Subcommittee Meeting” at the Council Chambers.

Councilman DiCiccio, who was not part of the committee, but was given time to speak and immediately went about with his typical rhetoric in regards to how city employees make too much money, contracts are written so nobody can understand them and this practice must be stopped at all costs and immediately eliminated.  What Councilman DiCiccio forgets to tell everyone is that as a sitting Council member, both present and past, he has read and signed numerous contracts over the years which have included the benefit of sick leave and vacation buy-back.

PLEA President Joe Clure, who initially had no plans to speak at the meeting, took to the podium and laid out the facts of how the benefit originated and questioned how it is fair to suddenly take it away from everyone without some other form of compensation to replace it.

Listen Now! to the related audio from Mike Broomhead on the Jim Sharpe show on 090513.  Joe Clure speaks to Mike at the 17:11 mark.