Judge: Phoenix Illegally Took Away Pension Benefit

Mayor Greg Stanton said Phoenix plans to appeal a judge’s ruling this week that found the city illegally took away a pension benefit from its public employees.

More than 20 years ago, Phoenix agreed to let some of its employees — such as secretaries and 911 dispatchers — put unused sick time toward their pensions. But in 2012, that changed.

The city capped how much of that accrued sick leave could go to retirement, for both current and new employees. So the unions sued.

“This is a promise the city made, and luckily this judge saw that, realized it was constitutionally protected, contractually protected. And gave the worker what they promised when they retired,” said Frank Piccioli, president of AFSCME Local 2960.

Piccioli said the average member of his union gets $20,000 in retirement a year and this benefit amounted to 100-500 dollars. The city is still running the numbers to determine the cost and did not release more details. In a statement, the mayor said the city will appeal.

At last check, Phoenix had spent close to $400,000 on attorney’s fees in the case.

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