Committees for and against Proposition 401 (Mayor/Council salary increases and other City Charter changes)Friday, September 3rd, 2010
According to the Tucson City Clerk, 2 new political committees registered in early August, to support and to fight the City Charter changes as proposed in Proposition 401, including a huge increase of the salaries of the Mayor and City Councilmembers. (This City Charter proposal would increase the Mayor’s salary from $42,000 to approximately $82,000 per year, and Council Members’ salaries would increase from $24,000 to approximately $62,000 per year.)
(9/10/10 UPDATE: “The change would bump pay to $61,280 for council members and to $76,600 for the mayor”, according to the the Arizona Daily Star news reporter, see link in comment # 3 below).
Link to City Clerk website is: http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/clerks/campaignfinancereport_2010
The two political committees are:
1. “Protect Local Control, No on 401″
Chair: Tom Prezelski, former LD 29 State House legislator, planner for Pascua Yaqui Tribe
Treasurer: Jim Hannley, investment advisor, Chair of LD 27 for Pima County Democratic Party
(Additional committee info: Secretary- Angie Quiroz; Spokesperson- Steve Leal, former Ward 5 Councilmember; Communications – Luke Knipe, former blogsite owner/political blogger of “Poco Bravo”)
2. “Tucson Charter Change Coalition (TC3), For Prop. 401″
Chair & Spokesperson: Lisa Lovallo, Vice President & System Manager for Southern Arizona, Cox Communications
Treasurer: David Cohen, CPA at BeachFleischman PC
(Communications – Ann Brown, Senior Media Relations Specialist for Caliber Group, formerly Editorial Page Editor at the Arizona Daily Star)
The vote to place Proposition 401 on the General Election ballot passed by a close 4-3 vote of the Tucson Mayor/City Council on July 7, 2010 (with Councilmembers Cunningham, Kozachik & Scott, and Mayor Walkup voting yes, and Councilmembers Fimbres, Romero, and Uhlich voting no.
Text of 401: “Proposed amendment to the Tucson Charter referred by Mayor and Council relating to providing the Mayor with equal voting authority as the members of the Council; designating specified officers of the City as employees outside of the classified, civil service; providing that the salary of the Mayor be 100%, and the salary of the Councilmembers 80%, of the salary of the Pima County Board of Supervisors; and eliminating staggered elections of the Mayor and Councilmembers beginning in 2013.”
Here’s info in support of Proposition 401 from the TC3 For Prop. 401 political committee’s Communications person Ann Brown:
What the charter changes in Prop 401 will do–
* Equality for the Mayor
Prop 401 gives the mayor the same authority as other council members.
The mayor would have the same voting rights as council members and count toward a quorum. Currently, there are issues on which the mayor may not vote, and only council members count toward a quorum.
* Accountability for department heads
Prop 401 eliminates civil service protection for department heads and their deputies and makes them more accountable to voters and citizens.
· Department heads and their deputies will be accountable to the city managers.
· Lets city department heads be fired for poor performance directly by the city manager.
· Strengthens the city manager’s accountability, making it easier for the mayor and council to fire him or her for inadequate performance.
* Full-time Mayor and Council
Prop 401 aligns the salaries of the mayor and council to those of the Pima County Board of Supervisors.
· Makes the positions full-time, thereby giving an incentive for candidates who need a livable wage to run for office.
· Increases the pool of highly qualified candidates to run for mayor or council offices.
· Salary increase does not go into effect until after the 2011 city council election.
· Does not increase taxes. Full-time salaries will be funded by cost-savings in other Prop 401 changes.
* Elections every four years
Prop 401 eliminates staggered terms; the mayor and council will be elected together every four years.
· Cuts election costs. Savings are estimated at $1.6 million per eliminated election cycle.
· Eliminates half of the city council going into re-election campaign mode every two years.
· Allows the mayor and council to better focus on their responsibilities to voters and citizens.”
However, The NO on Prop. 401 Communications person Luke Knipe responded that their committee does not oppose provision 1 about Mayoral parity/equality, nor provision 4 about holding city council elections every four years. But under provision 2 (department heads), they say that “It just makes it easier for the city’s unelected manager to fire most of them.” Their biggest disagreement is with provision 3, the huge increase in the Mayor/Councilmembers’ salaries, “without any funding source whatsoever.”
Stay tuned for these committees’ websites and to hear more from these 2 political committees about whether to vote for or against Proposition 401 on November 2nd.
Councilman Kozachik is hosting a town hall on September 16, 6:30 p.m. to discuss this Proposition 401, as well as Proposition 400 (proposed sale tax increase) at his Council office, 3202 E. 1st St. (SE corner of Anderson Blvd., south of Speedway, east of Country Club).