Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio Discusses Waste, Nepotism, and ‘GoodGraft’
The City of Phoenix Matrix, A “Good Graft” Scheme
Warning! Warning! You have entered the City of Phoenix government matrix! In recent months, I have been conducting research on the City of Phoenix public school revenue tax funding when I realized a growing system of different projects had failed to generate revenue. There were key players such as elected officials, businessmen, union representatives, friends of city staff, and others who would do anything to protect what I discovered.
Shortly then, I met with City of Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio to discuss my findings and ask why Mayor Greg Stanton had made allegations toward him and later withdrew his allegations. To my surprise, I became aware of the Councilman’s compelling case study for the City of Phoenix revenue-based policies. He stressed his need to discuss his grave concern because no other journalist would return his calls. In fact, Mayor Stanton made false accusations toward him was because he was considering a run for State Secretary of Treasury, and the City of Phoenix’s lack of transparency and case study would hurt his chances.
The government was profiting off the poor and the need for modern government reform was pertinent. The revenue-based policies steered unnecessary taxation, expenditure, and regulation which altered the economic growth and prosperity of the city. The misallocation of funds on higher-valued resources was used for lower-valued projects.
Year after year, local municipalities face endless fiscal deficits despite expanded growth. Cities across the nation reported similar crises with revenue-based policies which encompassed debt, a rise in sales and property taxes, and increased fees, rather than consider outcome-based policies focused on citizen need. The short-term band-aid fixes only address current deficits, and in the long-term, the increase snowballed into size and capacity of a never-ending deficit between government obligations and revenue. The systemic problem transcended party lines because corruption is self-serving.
Local officials relied on government staff to do their work and provide the needed information. Yet, politicians lacked understanding of complex agreements used to move hundreds of millions of federal dollars into different funds until the trail vanished.
The working-class are forced to pay direct fund pension taxes and local city staff benefits even though the working-class cannot afford basic health insurance, let alone a pension. These city employees use the federal tax dollars coming into their cities to line their pockets with expensive benefits, the best health care, and costly pensions.
A form of wasteful spending: City Hall needed a new roof and the board designated Alderman Smith, a new board member, to oversee the project. One Sunday night, Smith visited his sister’s home and negotiated a roofing contract and price with his brother-in-law, who owned a roofing company. After the new roof was installed the city ordinance called for an inspection. Mr. Smith hired his son, who owned a building inspection service, to inspect his uncle’s roof work. It turned out that the roof work cost twice as much because the materials used were marginally substandard, and 15 years into the future instead of 20, a new roof would be needed. The roofing and inspection companies employed more men than needed, the inspection fee was higher than expected, and Mr. Smith secretly owned the inspection company. Where did the extra money go? It lined the Smith family’s extravagant lifestyle and his retirement, while also supporting a group of men who worked for Mr. Smith’s political campaigns and his political allies.
The Councilman continued to explain the terminology “good graft” to mean the creation of government jobs to increase the flow of money into local communities without kickbacks, just overcharges for infrastructure, school buildings, maintaining roads, bridges, highways, and buildings. Even though federal dollars are meant for the poor, the city and state control most of where the federal dollars are spent.
In the City of Phoenix, many taxpayers, thousands of homeless people, men, women, and children were cheated out of decent and affordable housing because the city self-selects developers despite multiple bids on projects from the private sector at half the cost. Phoenix could have doubled the number of affordable units for the poor by selecting other bids, but awarded the bids to themselves countless times, a “good graft.” The extra money paid into the civil service workers budget and increased the power of civil service managers, increased salaries, and pensions. The “professional staff” protects their interests above the poor and the taxpayers.
The first top 50 City of Phoenix retirees would take out over $173 million in benefits. The City staff had no incentive to say “no” while union officials negotiated for more benefits and better pensions, accumulated days off which carry over year after year until retirement (because those staffers become recipients of the better benefits), healthcare, and pensions. Thus, a conflict of fiduciary duty among city employees exists and creates a financial instability to the budget deficit instead of servicing the poor and providing necessary city functions.
In retrospect, the Councilman is a man of integrity and strong moral ethical conduct. The Mayor felt threatened by the Councilman’s transparency because the City’s situation would hurt his run for State Secretary of Treasury. My realization was correct; I had discovered a type of Ponzi scheme that lined the pockets of the City of Phoenix professional staff and others. There is more to the Councilman’s case study which will be discussed in the near future.
Addy attended Arizona State University, as an online Bachelor of Science Criminology student with an emphasis on counter-terrorism. She plans to return in the fall of 2018 and complete her degree.
You may find humor within her writings and a well-blended use of psychology, philosophy, legal definition, and observation.
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