Firefighting, Legal

Phoenix Ends Pension Spiking for Police Officers and Firefighters

Phoenix’s new contracts with its employee unions will end the practice of pension spiking for police officers and firefighters and cap it for other city workers, saving taxpayers an estimated $233 million over 25 years, reports

Pension spiking is generally seen as the artificial inflation of a city employee’s income toward the end of a career to boost retirement benefits. The practice has been widespread at City Hall and became a hotbed of controversy last year, particularly after former City Manager David Cavazos cashed in sick and vacation leave and other perks to boost his annual retirement check by about $88,000, to $234,536.

The recent changes go far enough, however, that the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, a conservative watchdog group, is considering dropping its lawsuit challenging the practice for police and fire personnel in the state Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.

Goldwater’s attorneys contend that state law has prohibited spiking for decades, but Phoenix let it continue.

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