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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