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Updated Jun 26, 2012 - 11:42 am

Frustrations aside, Phoenix still talking pension change

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix City Council is continuing to talk about an overhaul of the city's pension system.

Some council members are frustrated the issue won't go on the ballot in November. Others want to wait until the outcome of a lawsuit. School teachers sued the state over enacted pension reforms.

Mayor Greg Stanton said the city shouldn't rush the reforms because it could get sued, like the state.

"Obviously, the state legislature tried to do pension reform and it was found to be unconstitutional," said Stanton. "It was smart for the city to find out what was constitutional from the state reform before we implement our own. Otherwise, we don't want to pass a law that was going to be unconstitutional. That's not smart."

Stanton said the city is looking at significant pension contributions to city employees.

"We're looking at even a 401(a)-type system," said Stanton. "Everything should be on the table. The city council will be voting in the early fall, and it'll be on the ballot in March. Any changes will be implemented July 1 of next year."

Stanton said the reforms are needed. "Woe be Phoenix if we adopt a policy that makes us uncompetitive and we lose our most talented people," Stanton said.

"I don't think anybody would want that to occur either."

KTAR's Sandra Haros contributed to this story

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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