Phoenix, Arizona

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Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona and the 6th most populated city in the United States. It is the county seat of Maricopa County and the capital of Arizona.

Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data,[1] and is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area (also known as the Valley of the Sun), the 14th largest metro area by population in the United States with more than 4.1 million people. Phoenix is the largest capital city in the United States and the only state capital with over 1,000,000 people.

Elected officials

The city council appoints the city manager who is responsible for the city’s day-to-day management and operations. The city manager works closely with the mayor and city council to provide city services and pass ordinances that are important to residents. With the assistance of a management team, the city manager oversees Phoenix’s 40 departments and major city functions.[2]

Mayor and city council

The Phoenix City Council is made up of a mayor and eight City Council members, elected by the people on a nonpartisan ballot for four-year terms. As elected officials, they represent and must answer to the people. The mayor is elected at large, which means residents in all parts of the city may cast votes for mayor. Council members are elected by voters in each of the eight separate districts that they represent. The mayor and council members have equal voting power to make laws and set the policies that govern the city.[3]


2011-12 Budget Compared to 2010-11 Adopted Budget (In Millions of Dollars)[4]

Operating and Maintenance
$2,184.2 $2,410.9 $2,453.9 $43.0 1.8%
Capital Expenditures 199.5 526.0 486.3 (39.7) (7.5)%
Debt Service 605.7 589.1 534.2 (54.9) (9.3)%
Total $2,989.4 $3,526.0 $3,474.4 ($51.6) (1.5)%

Stimulus funds

The Phoenix Mayor, City Council and city staff continue to work aggressively to secure funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to create local jobs, save existing jobs and stimulate our economy into recovery. To date, Phoenix has been awarded a total of $429,090,485. A breakdown of all Phoenix projects receiving the ARRA funds is provided within the five categories below.[5]

Img recovery graph.jpg

Public pensions

With approximately 80 percent support, Phoenix voters overwhelmingly supported a pension reform measure expected to save the city nearly $600 million over the next 25 years. The savings come from increasing both the age of retirement for new city employees and the amount new employees contribute into the pension system. [6]

Public employee salaries

A former police officer, Jack Harris, who retired in 2007, and received a lump sum payout for his pension that totaled $562,000. He then began to collect an annual pension of $90,000, and was re-hired by the city as the "public safety manager" earning $193,000 a year.[7] This is a violation of Arizona's law which forbids rehiring public workers, and Harris' position is being challenged by Judicial Watch in court.

Over 180 police officers in Phoenix are earning over $100,000 annually.[7]

Controversy over $28.9 million in performance pay raises and longevity awards Phoenix plans to include in its 2011-12 spending plan ignited debate over whether the city has been open and transparent about the issue. Mayoral candidates and one councilman question city officials about why they didn't mention the planned $11.6 million in merit raises and $17.3 million in longevity bonuses proposed for the coming fiscal year during one of the 15 public budget hearings held in April. [8]


See also: Arizona government sector lobbying

Phoenix spent $492,000 in lobbying 2010[9] and $300,000 in 2011.[10]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations

Phoenix is a member of the Arizona League of Cities and Towns, a government sector lobbying association. It submitted the following resolutions for adoption in the Arizona League:


The Phoenix website has a page dedicated to tax information, including rates and ways to pay.[11]

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of Arizona city websites
Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying P
Public Records Y
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Local Taxes Y
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Transparency grading process

In 2011 Phoenix earned a Sunny Awards for having a perfect website transparency score.

The good

  • Budget
    • Budget reports for the current cycle are available.[12]
    • Budgets are archive to 2005. [13]
  • Meetings
    • Agendas and minutes are available.[14]
  • Elected officials
    • The Mayor and city council members contact information are posted online.[15]
  • Zoning and building
    • Building permit forms information [16] and zoning information is available on the website.[17]
  • Audits
    • Audit reports are available.[18]
    • Audits are archived to 2007.
  • Contracts
    • Information on bids and proposals are available [19]
  • Public records
    • There is information on how citizens can request public records.[20]
  • Taxes
    • Information on local taxes are available.[21]
    • Temporary food tax information is posted. [22]
  • Lobbying
    • * Lobbying information for individuals and organizations is available[23]

The bad

  • Lobbying
    • Information on taxpayer funded lobbying is not posted.
  • Checkbook register
    • There is no checkbook register available

External links