Contact Us:

Location:111 W. Monroe Rd Suite 1200

             Phoenix,  AZ 85003

Phone:(602) 254-8474 Office

          (602) 254-1373  Fax

Email:  Jason Stokes - President

           Colleen Lockwood -

           Vice President  

Membership Application click here...

ASPTEA Now has Aflac



ASPTEA members can now sign up for Aflac at discount Rates! 

For More Information on the Plans see the Video's below..

Cancer Care Plan

Accident Indemnity Advantage Plan

Hospital Advantage Plan

Dental Plan

Critical Care and Recovery Plan

Vision Now Plan


General Membership Meeting

 ASPTEA General Membership Meeting

Date:         Wednesday, February 10th

Time:         5:15 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (or later if necessary)

Location:   American Legion - 364 N. 7th Avenue Phoenix, AZ  85007

Agenda Items Include:

  • Negotiations

  • Sick Leave Snapshot

  • Retiree Health Insurance

  • FMLA

Free Parking is available at the American Legion

Soft drinks and Finger Food provided.


The following information was sent out yesterday to the retiree group. Thanks to the relentless efforts of ASPTEA, our labor partners and the calls and e-mails from our retirees, the City has decided to reverse their decision to put the pre-medicare retirees on the Towers-Watson OneExchange. One more victory and further proof of the benefits of membership!


"We heard you. We care. The City’s coverage is back.

Representatives from COPRA and the Health Care Task Force advocated to give non-Medicare retirees and family members the option to return to City retiree coverage.

You can continue your City retiree medical coverage in 2016 by contacting the City’s Benefits Office at (602) 262-4777 or Premiums will be deducted from pension checks.

Non-Medicare public safety retirees will have the State Subsidy applied to their monthly premium.

Why did the City change its mind?

The healthcare marketplace changed a lot for 2016. When compared to 2015, there are fewer plans with lower levels of coverage at a higher cost. These changes could not be predicted when the decision was made to transition retiree coverage to OneExchange. We now know the marketplace can’t provide a comparable level of cost or coverage for City retirees.

What about Medicare eligible retirees and family members?

Medicare eligible retirees and family members have had a better experience finding comparable medical coverage and premium costs running an average of $235 per month.

What about dental coverage?

Dental coverage will be available again no later than June 1, 2016.

How Do I Cancel My Individual Medical Plan?

If you are enrolled in an individual plan that begins January 1, 2016 and you wish to cancel it, contact your insurance carrier directly to cancel the policy and request a premium refund. Do this before January 1st.

Open Enrollment

A mid-year Open Enrollment will occur in April 2016. Look for an Open Enrollment booklet in the mail.

Please see the reverse side of this postcard for important information about your City of Phoenix retiree medical coverage.

We know you’ll have questions about this news. Please look for a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in the mail soon or find them online today at

You received this postcard because:

1) You are enrolled in City retiree medical coverage today [Cigna HMO, BCBS PPO or BCBS Savers Choice High Deductible Plan], and

2) You and/or your spouse or domestic partner are not Medicare eligible."





Effective today, all Unit 7 employees have had an additional 3 hours vacation added to their leave banks.  We are in desperate need of your leave contributions so that we can keep our doors open and continue to protect your pay, benefits, pension & your job.

ASPTEA is committed to ensuring fair pay, benefits and treatment of all Unit 7 employees.  These are just a few of the recent victories ASPTEA has won for you:

ü  Sick Leave Snapshot – Won

ü  Proposition 487 – Beaten

ü  Pay Freezes - Prevented

ü  Tier 2 Pension contribution – Reduced 4% starting next month

ü  MERP Changes – Stopped

ü  Longevity Pay – Saved

ü  Merit Increases - Saved

Please donate at least 3 hours by December 11th.

Representation does not exist in the City of Phoenix without your donations.  ASPTEA depends entirely on your donated leave to assist unit members and negotiate your wage and benefits.  The Goldwater Institute is betting that they can eliminate employee representation in Phoenix by making ASPTEA depend on donations.  Yes, the same Goldwater Institute that tried to take your pension with Proposition 487 and the same group that tried to outsource our jobs with SB 1322.  If they get their way, we will be no different than the State:  pay freezes, no step increases, no productivity enhancement and at will employment.

All unit 7 employees are eligible to donate up to 40 hours per year.  To be counted for January 2016, donations must be submitted no later than December 11th.  Member or not, donate, it’s in your best interest! 

Below is the donation form.

OptIN Link


The ASPTEA Elections Committee has completed the final vote count and certified the following election results:

Secretary – Beth Benning

Directors at Large – Joe Niles and Lisa Huggins-Hubbard

Thank you to all the candidates for your interest and support of ASPTEA.

Congratulations to Beth, Joe and Lisa!


The ASPTEA election is right around the corner.  Mail in ballots will arrive early next week.  There is a quick turnaround for mail in ballots.  They need to be received at ASPTEA by Tuesday, October 20th at 5:00 p.m.  In person voting will be at the ASPTEA office, 111 W. Monroe, Suite 1200 on Tuesday, October 20th beginning at 7:00 a.m.  The polls will close at 6:00 p.m.  Candidate Bios are being mailed to all members and are also available below.

The November 8/9 Las Vegas trip is on!  We still have room for more and really need to hear from you if you are interested in going.  We will have bingo, cross the line, hospitality suite with an eating challenge and maybe we can get a group zip-line ride in!  Click on the registration form below or call the office at 602-254-8474.

There was a status conference held yesterday regarding the sick leave snapshot.  The city turned over information to help determine damages.  Following the conference, attorneys for the city expressed an interest in discussing a settlement agreement.  No terms have been discussed at this point.  We will keep you updated as things progress.

Have a great weekend!

Below are the Election Candidate Bio's

Secretary: Beth Benning Bio

Secretary: Shelley Reimann Bio

Director: Lisa Huggins-Hubbard Bio

Director: Joe Niles Bio

Director: Beth Young Bio


Las Vegas Downtown – Fremont Street – Golden Nugget Hotel Sunday & Monday, November 8th & 9th, 2015

Click the flyer below for registration details


ASPTEA E-mail Drive


July Member Event

Thanks to all the members who stopped by to drop off their personal e-mail addresses and enjoy some ice cream.  Congratulations to Danelle Haynes and Dana Walker, each won a $50 Gift card!

If you are reading this on Facebook or and didn’t also receive an e-mail with this same information, it means we don’t have your personal e-mail address.  Please take a minute to register on or just send me an e-mail with a address.

Sick Leave Snapshot

I know everyone has a lot of questions about what the Superior Court ruling actually means to current employees and those who retired since the snapshot.

There are still many unanswered questions, however, what I can tell you is the ruling itself says that the snapshot was illegally imposed and that pension benefits cannot be decreased unilaterally.  It also says that retirees will need to have their pensions recalculated and that the current 2014-2016 contract was not before the judge to decide.  We are meeting with our attorneys next week to discuss some of these details as well as the vacation snapshot lawsuit, currently set to begin early next year.  

I can also assure you that ASPTEA did not agree to this change in the 2014-2016 contract or any other.  If the city tries to allege that we did or somehow attempts to reapply the snapshot, I imagine we will be right back in court.

In terms of the details regarding those planning to retire in the near future and what specifically this ruling means to them, the most honest answer is we are not sure yet.  We are waiting on the final written order of the judge’s ruling. 

Will the City appeal?  Again, this has yet to be determined.  My opinion is that the judge was clear on a couple of undisputable issues:  the contract cannot be unilaterally changed and the Arizona Constitution was violated.  The decision to appeal is one that is made by the City Council.  The Council has not made this decision yet.  When they do, it will take place in either executive session or at a public council meeting.  What I have been doing, in cooperation with AFSCME, is meeting with members of the council to explain our position that pursuing an appeal would be a futile effort that would waste even more tax dollars.  

August Election

You should have received your information packet by now.  Some members have also received their mail in ballots, I haven’t yet.  As you know there are several very important items regarding the future of Phoenix and its employees.  If you live in the city, please vote.  If you have questions or concerns about individual propositions, feel free to call the office.


We were notified by our attorneys yesterday (07/21/2015) that the Maricopa County Superior Court ruled in favor of ASPTEA, our AFSCME partners and our members regarding the sick leave snapshot.

In his ruling, Judge Brain determined that the City of Phoenix violated the Arizona State Constitution by unilaterally imposing the snapshot.

He further ruled that pensions for those who retired after the sick leave snapshot was implemented would have their pensions recalculated and that employees hired prior to the snapshot could not have their pensions negatively affected. 

I would like to thank our members, the ASPTEA Board of Directors and our AFSCME partners for sticking together and beating city hall.

I was disappointed to read in this morning’s news that at least one city official has announced that they are supporting an appeal of this decision.  As a lifelong resident of Phoenix I have taken great pride in the fact that our city has not followed the likes of the State legislature and certain elected Maricopa County officials in squandering tax dollars on lawsuits to perpetuate clearly illegal political agendas. 

Next year’s impending deficit is a perfect example of how we, as taxpayers and employees, wind up footing the bill for these types of irresponsible and reckless actions.  It’s unfortunate that some are considering incurring further costs in a clearly futile effort. 

Once again, thank you to our members for your support.  Efforts such as this are expensive and time consuming.  Without your support, this victory would not have been possible.  If you are not a member, it is not too late to join us as we move forward to ensure that your rights are protected.  Again, resources are needed as we look at fighting a possible appeal as well as moving forward to restore your rights as they relate to vacation leave.   

  Attached is the judges order.




Thanks to everyone who attended the June membership event.  Cris Meyer, City Clerk, presented information on the upcoming city election, including the ballot propositions and what we as city employees can do (and should not do) in regards to city elections.  These election guidelines are a great refresher for us in our roles as employees and supervisors. 


The election will be held on August 25, 2015.  The ballot includes candidates for mayor, odd-numbered city council districts, and several propositions such as the general plan, home rule, pension reform, and transit tax.


This election is very important to the City of Phoenix and its employees.  I encourage you to take the time to learn about the issues and vote accordingly.


More information on the upcoming election can be found at the City Clerk website: 


An alternative to in-person voting is to vote early, by mail.  We have postage paid Early Voter List cards here at the ASPTEA office.  For more information regarding the Permanent Early Voter List, follow this link for the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office:




Please stay tuned for information on July’s membership event.






ASPTEA Members Volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul:

I wish to express my sincere appreciation to all of the ASPTEA members who volunteered in the St. Vincent de Paul Family Dining Room on Tuesday, May 19th.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul operates five local dining rooms which collectively serve over 3,500 hot meals each day. As staff is limited, each dining room relies on volunteers to prepare and serve meals, as well as tend to the guests’ needs and clean up at the end of the night. Families depend on this service, because for many, this will be the only meal they will receive that day.

Our group was tasked with sorting and packaging nutritious snacks of dried cranberries, granola bars, and juices. In addition, we prepared and packaged approximately 1,000 peanut butter sandwiches, which is very close to the record number of sandwiches ever prepared in a single shift, information we learned from our fellow volunteers. Our assigned duties were physically demanding, but worthwhile and appreciated. And, yes, we rocked the hair nets!

As a city employee, I am aware of the many blessings I have been given and do not take them for granted. Volunteering is one way we support our community. In addition, community service is an opportunity to demonstrate the generosity and selflessness of public employees, one of the wonderful qualities that often goes unmentioned.

Thank you to all who were able to attend, we had a mix of families, retirees, people who had worked a full shift that day and even a second shift employee who took vacation time to participate.

Keep checking back for future opportunities. If you know of a worthy cause you would like us to assist, call or email me.



Snapshot Update Day 7 (continued)
Yesterday’s proceedings saw the testimony of 2 witnesses and finally, the resting of the City’s case.  

Retired H.R. Director Janet Smith finished her testimony today.  It was interesting listening to the insights of someone who rose through the ranks to ultimately become director of their department, Ex-officio member of the COPERS Board and direct report to the City Manager.  

Next was the City’s final witness, Deputy City Manager Rick Naimark.  Like Ms. Smith, and the City witnesses who testified previously, Mr. Naimark, also a COPERS Board member (City Manager designee), had never considered the legality of the sick leave payout until his boss, David Cavazos, told him to.  Coincidentally, Ms. Smith, COPERS Board member Jeff Dewitt (Finance Director and direct report to Mr. Cavazos), and the City Treasurer, also a COPERS Board member and direct report to Jeff Dewitt, never considered this either.  So this epiphany occurred simultaneously for several COPERS Board members immediately following the City Manager’s decision to impose the Sick Leave Snapshot.  Our attorneys made several attempts to direct the court to the fact that the COPERS Board appears to be “stacked” in favor of management, but unfortunately each attempt was objected to by opposing counsel as “irrelevant”.  What was interesting about all the testimony presented by those COPERS Board members was that while they claim they don’t believe that in 1996 the Board voted to approve the sick leave payout, they also only voted to “acknowledge” Mr. Cavazos’ Sick Leave Snapshot in A.R. 2.441.  Attempts to define what it meant to “acknowledge” the A.R. were consistently met with the response that the discussion occurred in Executive Session, and therefore was subject to attorney-client privilege. 

What did get on the record was that when Mayor Gordon formed the Pension Reform Committee, consisting of citizens, business leaders, retirees and 1 labor representative, they voted down the “Snapshot” idea and instead recommended to the Council to initiate this change only upon newly hired employees.

As I said last night, closing briefs are due at the end of the month and we shouldn’t expect a ruling until this summer at the earliest.  

Thanks again for everyone’s support.  Ultimately this is why employee associations/unions exist.  Alone, any one of us would have an impossible task going toe to toe with a Goliath like the City.  Regardless of the outcome, I am proud that we have stood together in solidarity with our AFSCME partners to protect our rights, the bargaining process and the promises made to us.


Snapshot Update Day 7
Tonight's post will be very brief, sorry.  I will provide a much more detailed account of the day tomorrow.

Retired H.R. Director Janet Smith finished her testimony today.  She was followed by Deputy City Manager Rick Naimark, the City's final witness.  With the end of Mr. Naimark's testimony the City rested its case.  

There were no closing statements made by either side.  Each side will submit closing briefs.  Those are due to the court by May 27, 2015.  So we shouldn't expect a conclusion to this any time prior to that.   

Again, sorry for the brief post.  I will post a more detailed version tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who has "liked" and commented on the posts.  And thanks to all of you that have come by to observe.

Snapshot Update Day 6
Today we heard the testimony of retired H.R. Director Janet Smith.  In addition to serving as HR Director, Ms. Smith was also a COPERS board member and direct report to then City Manager David Cavazos.  Once again, we heard a repeat of previous city witness testimony.

However, some interesting information did present itself.  Ms. Smith, consistent with the other city witnesses, stated that her belief was that the payout of sick leave as pensionable income was a mistake.  She also stated that she didn’t believe it qualifies as compensation under the charter of the City of Phoenix. Under cross-examination from our attorney, she admitted that she was aware of her fiduciary responsibility as a COPERS board member.  She stated that her fiduciary responsibility required that all COPERS related decisions must benefit the COPERS members.

She then admitted that the snapshot would not be a benefit. Considering her position, who her supervisor was, the direction he clearly wanted to take, and that nagging fiduciary responsibility, one can only question if Ms. Smith found herself in a professional/ethical dilemma that I can only see as a conflict of interest.Ms. Smith testified that she had arrived at the belief that sick leave is not compensation under the City Charter because the charter does not specifically list sick leave as compensation.

When asked by our attorney if the charter specifically details all the terms of the pension plan, Ms. Smith answered “yes”.  She was then asked to locate in the charter where stand-by pay, call-out pay, tool allowance, uniform allowance, etc., are listed as compensation that is pensionable.  Ms. Smith was finally forced to admit the reality that the other city witnesses have avoided.  The COPERS Board has the authority to interpret the language of the charter as it relates to the pension.  In related testimony, Ms. Smith admitted that the Personnel Rules give the authority of administering the Leave Program (sick and vacation) and compensation to the H.R. Director (Section 8 and 3a.2).  So, as the sole individual responsible for administering these programs, she apparently continued a practice she believed shouldn’t have occurred in the first place.

Next, Ms. Smith was asked to explain the difference between Administrative Regulations (A.R.’s) and Personnel Rules.  Ms. Smith explained that changes to the A.R.’s are the prerogative of the City Manager and changes to Personnel Rules require a public hearing and a vote of the City Council.  Ms. Smith then testified that no public hearing or council vote was held to change that Personnel Rule.The day ended with one final question, regarding compensatory time.  For those of you who have never worked for the city in an hourly (non-exempt) capacity, Comp time is available in lieu of receiving pay for overtime or holidays that have been worked.  Luckily for ASPTEA, we are the only unit that actually includes both hourly and exempt employees. In fact, I myself was once in the position of promoting into an exempt position from an hourly position and I had hours in my Comp bank.  It’s important to remember that up to this point the city has contended that sick leave is not compensation.  

So with that understanding, Ms. Smith was asked to refer to the ASPTEA MOA, specifically Article 3.4, which also corresponds with A.R. 2.21.  Both read that upon promotion from an hourly position to an exempt position, the employee has until the end of the calendar year to either cash out their comp time bank or take the time as leave.  If there is any time remaining at the end of the calendar year, that time will convert to the vacation leave bank.  If the vacation leave bank is at it’s maximum allowable limit, the time will be converted to sick time.  

This clearly shows that sick leave is compensation.  Unfortunately, the day ended before Ms. Smith had the opportunity to answer this question. While we all hoped that today would be the final day of testimony, we have been extended one more day. It is expected that Ms. Smith and Deputy City Manager Rick Naimark will testify Monday beginning at 9:00 a.m. This should be the final day of testimony.    
Snapshot Update Day 5
Today’s proceedings consisted of testimony from three witnesses, the resting of the plaintiffs’ case and a surprise motion for dismissal by the other side.Donna Buelow, the now retired COPERS Administrator, continued her testimony to start the day off. 

Her testimony was consistent with every other City witness. Basically, she doesn’t think sick leave should be calculated for anything other than service credit, she had never considered that possibility until her superiors advised her of this in 2012, and subsequently took absolutely no action to make this belief known to anyone once she arrived at this conclusion.Next up was Debra Novak-Scott (2960).

Ms. Novak-Scott, a veteran of more than 2 decades of contract negotiations, PERB charges, grievances, discipline appeals, etc., was a formidable witness for our side. She once again made clear that this benefit was negotiated into our contracts. The benefit came at a cost, it was never negotiated out and the City never provided a credit to the units for removing it.The conclusion of Ms. Novak-Scott’s testimony also represented the conclusion of our case.Next up would be the City’s case. 

Expected to testify are former Deputy H.R. Director Lisa Esquivel, retired Deputy H.R. Director Kathy Haggerty, retired H.R. Director Janet Smith and Deputy City Manager Rick Naimark.

 However, before the next witness could be called, the City’s attorneys requested that the case be dismissed based upon their belief that we have failed to meet our burden of proving our case. That is an extremely brief summary of the 30-minute statement made by the attorney for the City. Of course, facing the possibility of the entire case being thrown out at that moment, we were all holding our breath. Fortunately, Judge Brain took no more than a second to deny the motion, actually disputing some of the claims made.

So with the trial continuing, the City called their first witness, Ms. Lisa Esquivel. Lisa’s testimony was again the standard fare that has been offered by previous City witnesses (Steward, Gleason and Buelow).It did become interesting when a series of questions were asked regarding the Unit 2 and Unit 7 negotiations. The questions were basically whether or not either AFSCME 2384 or ASPTEA ever mentioned during negotiations that imposing the snapshot was a violation of their contract, the city charter, the Arizona or U.S. constitution. Ms. Esquivel consistently answered “No”. That was until Judge Brain asked for clarification and cited the City’s own negotiation minutes for ASPTEA; specifically, when Ron Ramirez stated that the actions were illegal and diminished and impaired pension benefits in violation of Arizona’s constitution. Ms. Esquivel’s response was that she didn’t remember that statement but wouldn’t dispute it since it was in the minutes that she had signed as accurate.That was the end of the testimony for the day. 

We are scheduled to resume on Friday at 10:15 a.m. There is a possibility that the trial will be extended one more day next week.Once again, I would like to thank the members who stopped by to observe today’s proceedings. I also appreciate the e-mails and FaceBook “likes”.

Snapshot Update

The "Sick Leave Snapshot" trial was originally scheduled to conclude tomorrow.

We have been notified that the trial has been extended one more day.

Tomorrow we will begin at 9:15 and conclude at 4:45. We will not be meeting on Thursday, but will continue on Friday, however, the trial will not begin until 10:15.

I'll provide an update following tomorrow's proceedings. 

Snapshot Update Day 4

The day began with Stu Casey finishing his testimony and finally being able to return to his day job.  While I enjoyed getting to have lunch and carpool with him again, just like the old days, I recognize how difficult it is to have to ask your boss for unanticipated time off.  Stu, thanks again for your commitment to ASPTEA and all city employees.   I also want to thank ASPTEA retirees Bill Price and Joan Olson for spending much of their day waiting to testify.  Both took time off from their current positions to be there and support us, but were not called to testify due to changes in the witness order.

The City attempted to explain that the impact to our retirees was minimal. Being that we filed the lawsuit very shortly after the snapshot was imposed, the only employees Immediately affected were those that had retired in that short window between the effective date of the snapshot and the filing of the lawsuit.  However, we were able to show that the pension benefit reduction continues to grow on a daily basis and the more time that passes, the greater the damage becomes. 

The next two witnesses were current COPERS Administrator Scott Miller, followed by former COPERS Administrator Donna Buelow.  Both provided the expected testimony in support of the snapshot.  The day ended with our attorney questioning Ms. Buelow.  The examination took an interesting turn when questions regarding changes made to address “highly compensated employees” became the focus of discussion.  I will discuss this issue more once I have more information.  For those of you who enjoy conducting research, spend a little time on Internal Revenue Code 415 as it relates to highly compensated employees in defined benefit pension plans.   

The trial will resume next Wednesday at 9:15 a.m., when Ms. Buelow is expected to conclude her testimony.  Wednesday is also expected to be the final day of the trial.

Once again, I would like to thank the members who came to observe and individually recognize Mr. Pat Griffin, retired ASPTEA Officer, for spending the day with us. 

Sick Leave Trial Update

Snapshot Update

Day 3

Today Luis Schmidt (2384) finished his testimony. The overall theme was that for our careers we have trusted the city to live up to their "promise, policy and practice" of paying out a percentage of sick leave as pensionable compensation.

Next to testify was retired Budget and Research Director Kathy Gleason. Ms. Gleason was not nearly as evasive as Ms. Steward. She did claim that she believed that no one had ever approved the sick leave payouts at retirement and that it was, for lack of a better term, an administrative oversight even though she wasn't on the COPERS Board until 1997, one year after implementation. Ms. Gleason, a retiree, stated that it was her opinion that sick leave should never have been pensionable under the charter, but she did not come to that realization until after she retired. She was directly asked why, if she believed this to be an illegal practice, did she vote for a snapshot. In effect continuing, but capping, what she believed to be an illegal practice. Her response was that they were "splitting the baby".

Her opinion was that if the practice was eliminated, it would call into question whether current retirees would need to pay back what they had been given. Therefore, the COPERS Board decided not to take that path and just cap the payouts at time already earned. She did admit that the Board could have grandfathered existing employees, but that's not what they chose. Too bad. Had they made that decision, you wouldn't be reading this post.

Our side produced the City's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) which showed that since the implementation of the sick leave payout, when ASPTEA negotiated it, outside auditors hired by the City have not only been aware of the policy but had listed it as a liability. Subsequent CAFR's, not only indicated the addition of the sick leave benefit for the other bargaining units, they detailed the cost and formula used to determine the amount of pensionable compensation from sick leave. It should be noted that the CAFR is signed off by the Finance Director (a COPERS Board member) and received by the City Manager (a COPERS Board member) and presented to the Mayor and Council.

The day ended with Mr. Casey finally getting his turn to testify. Stu just started when the Court adjourned for the day. I expect Stu to finish his testimony tomorrow. Beyond that, witnesses have been going out of order so I won't speculate. Overall, today seemed to be a good one for us.

Thanks to the ASPTEA members who stopped by today to observe, we appreciate seeing you and I believe the Judge has noticed the number of people in the gallery.


Snapshot Update

Day 2

Day 2 began with Ron Ramirez concluding his testimony from the previous day. The next witness was AFSCME Local 2960 President Frank Piccioli. AFSCME Local 2384 President Luis Schmidt followed and testified until the lunch break. When we returned from lunch, Luis’ testimony was placed on hold so that the City could call retired Labor Relations Administrator, Lori Steward. This was necessary as Ms. Steward had to return to San Antonio, Texas where she... is currently a City employee, working for former Phoenix Assistant City Manager Sheryl Sculley. Ms. Steward appears to have benefited greatly from the pensionable sick leave conversion as she testified that she had reached the "2080 Club" several years ago. I found Ms. Steward’s testimony to be very evasive. At one point, the Judge himself asked her direct yes or no questions that she chose to respond to with something other than a yes or no. An observer was overheard to say, “I bet if they asked her name right now, she wouldn’t give it.” The day concluded with Luis back on the stand.

Tomorrow’s witnesses are expected to be Luis Schmidt, retired ASPTEA Executive Board member Stu Casey, Colleen Lockwood and Debra Novak-Scott, AFSCME 2960 Vice President.

I would like to express my appreciation to Mr. Stu Casey for his participation in this case. He has attended each day of the trial so far utilizing his own personal time.

The case does not look like it will conclude until at least Thursday, and possibly an additional day will be added. Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.

Snapshot Update

Day 1

The Sick Leave Snapshot trial began yesterday. Both sides presented their opening arguments. Retired ASPTEA Secretary Charlene Limbeck testified first, followed by Jason Stokes and then Ron Ramirez. Frank Piciolli (AFSCME 2960), Luis Schmidt, (AFSCME 2384), Colleen Lockwood and Debra Novak-Scott (AFSCME 2960) are expected to testify today. You are welcome to stop by and observe. We are in Courtroom 413 in the East Wing of the main court building at 101 W Jefferson. Enter through security in the main building. The trial runs from 9:00 to 5:00 with a lunch break from 12:00-1:30 daily. Several ASPTEA Executive Board members will be in attendance each day to answer your questions.

Remember City time is not authorized and no uniforms please.

Attention ASPTEA Members:

The “Sick Leave Snapshot” trial begins Monday, April 27, 2015 at 9 a.m.  The trial will run Monday through Wednesday and possibly Thursday.  We are encouraging our members to attend any or all of the proceedings.  The hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a lunch break from 12:00-1:30 each day.

We will be presenting our case first on Monday.  It is expected that the City will be presenting their case on Wednesday.

The court has been advised that observers may be coming and going.  If you plan to attend, the court room is very small and there may not be adequate seating.  It is very important to enter and exit quietly and be professional at all times.  City time is not authorized for this event.  You must be on approved leave or your break time.  Additionally, please don’t wear city uniforms or identify yourself publicly as a city employee.

The trial is being conducted in the East Court building, 101 W Jefferson, courtroom 413. 


I was recently made aware that the city has implemented a furlough policy that impacts members planning to retire between January 1 and June 30.  Members who retire during that interval will be required to take or buy their one furlough day.  Members who retire between July 1 and December 31 will not be required to take or buy their furlough day.


Thanks to everyone who attended our sold out Las Vegas trip and congratulations to our Bingo and Cross the River winners.

We had some big winners and the zip lines were a blast!

ASPTEA hosted a suite for a members' get together on Sunday night.  We had our first ever “Scalded Mouth Challenge”.  Congratulations to Lisa Bird, Pat Griffin, Rossana Stokes and Tom Torrez for successfully eating 5 meatballs drenched in my special recipe Ghost Pepper and Scorpion Pepper BBQ sauce and resisting the urge to drink anything during the 5 minute “meltdown” period.  Each winner was presented with a trophy and the chance to win a cash prize!

If you missed out on this trip, watch our web page for information on the next one.


This summer, in an attempt to reduce unnecessary costs, the city will be conducting a Dependent Eligibility Verification Audit (DEVA).  Organizations of our size have been able to save 3-5% of their health care costs by ensuring that only eligible dependents receive the City’s health insurance. 

The most common areas that ineligible dependents are discovered are:  Ex-spouses, former step children (children of your ex-spouse that were insured when you were still married) and “common law” marriages.  For eligibility purposes, you must have a marriage license or have completed the domestic partnership process. 

If you potentially fall into one of these categories, make sure and update your dependents now.  Once the city has conducted the audit, they can seek reimbursement from you for cost of the ineligible dependents.

As always, if you have questions or need more information, call the office.

Board of Directors

The ASPTEA Board of Directors appointed Ron Ramirez to fill the Director vacancy for the 2014-2016 term.  Congratulations to Ron.  We would also like to thank Shelley Reimann and Robyn Skramstad for their interest in the position.

Equal Pay Day

Today is Equal Pay Day and coincidentally Lilly Ledbetter's birthday.  For those of you who don't recognize the name, she is solely responsible for the federal Equal Pay Act and the motivation for Phoenix's upcoming ballot proposition requiring those with City of Phoenix contracts to compensate their employees equally regardless of gender. This proposition was driven by the Phoenix Women's Commission and Councilwoman Kate Gallego.  I was fortunate enough today to get to share in both Ms. Ledbetter's birthday celebration and recognition of Equal Pay Day.



At Wednesday's City Council meeting, we took another step closer to fixing the crushing pension contribution requirements affecting our Tier 2 employees.  The Council voted 5-3 to approve ballot language that will reduce pension contributions to a level below the current state contribution, save taxpayers $40 million and improve the City's ability to recruit and retain employees.

As the August election approaches, expect to be bombarded with information from both sides.  What is important to remember is that this solution is a true compromise.  Councilman Diciccio stated in the meeting that unions support this because it's good for the employees.  The truth is, if this passes, Tier 3 employees gain nothing.  In fact, they are reducing their benefit so that they can reduce their cost.  They are giving up sick leave service credit and receiving a cap on the amount of their pensionable income.  The only aspects I like about this from a labor standpoint is that Tier 2 employees are charted to pay up to 17% of their income in pension contributions and this will fix that.  This plan will also make sure we stop having City Managers bloat their pensions at our expense.  Soon you will see some comparisons as to what Frank Fairbanks' and David Cavazos' pensions would have looked like if they were Tier 3 employees.  You will be surprised!

As we move closer to the August election, it is critically important to stay informed and vote.

If you have any questions, please call the office.


Below are a couple of related articles:

Council Pension Item

City Manager's Letter to Republic


Mike Cusimano Education Award Program

Each year ASPTEA presents four $800 educational awards to the children/legal dependents of our members.  If you have a dependent that is college bound or currently attending a college or university, don't miss out on this opportunity.

Click the link for the application and more information.


Mike Cusimano Education Award Program Flyer

At last night’s (3/4/2015) City Council meeting, the Council voted to approve the Ad-hoc Pension Reform Committee’s recommendation and forward a proposition to the voters to create a tier 3 pension plan and cap tier 2 contributions at 11%.  I spoke in support of the proposal as did the Presidents of Units 2 & 3 and the Representative of unit 1.  Scott Mussi of the dark money Arizona Free Enterprise Club, and the architect of Prop 487, spoke in opposition (I don’t think he even lives in Phoenix).  The passage of this proposal is great news for tier 2 employees, the City’s ability to recruit and retain and the taxpayers.


Mayor Stanton called to the rest of the Council to support a resolution asking the state legislature to work with public safety to reform PSPRS, which is the true pension cost that has been strangling city finances.

What was disturbing last night was that Councilman Gates attempted to throw our current DCP plan into the reform mix.  His attempt failed.  Expect some discussion on this topic at the next Council meeting.  It is clear that some of our Council members lack a basic understanding of what our DCP program is.  Others are more committed to a political agenda than their duty to represent the interests of Phoenix residents.  In the time leading up to the next Council meeting, I will be working with city management and the other labor groups to educate them that our DCP plan is not a “second pension”.  It is a savings program that has no unfunded liability and the city contributions came in lieu of wages.

If you have questions, concerns or would like more information don’t hesitate to call the office.



On March 4, 2015, the Phoenix City Council will vote on the Ad Hoc Pension Committee’s recommendation to once again place a measure on the ballot to further reform the City of Phoenix pension plan  (COPERS), the third in as many years.  I want to assure all of you that ASPTEA has worked closely with the Mayor, members of the City Council, the City Manager’s Office and the Ad Hoc Committee to ensure this  recommendation does not impact Tier 1 employees.  The recommendation solves some of the largest problems created by the last pension reform, provides relief to the escalating contribution rate that Tier 2 employees face and creates a fair and sustainable pension.  It saves the city an additional $2 million dollars annually for the next 20 years on top of the previous reforms and does not risk costly court battles.


This proposal protects defined benefit pensions for future generations.  It allows the city to regain the ability to recruit and retain the highest caliber employees so that we can continue to provide the superior service our citizens deserve.  These changes also allow the city to regain the ability to compete with other cities, the county and the state for the best, brightest and most dedicated.

This proposal creates a cap on pensionable income at $125,000.  All earnings in excess of that amount will earn a 2% DCP contribution.  More importantly, that change finally addresses the real pension spiking problems that have made headlines in the past.  If adopted, no longer will City Managers be able to take $80,000 bonuses or 30% pay raises at the expense of our pension fund. 

While this reform does nothing to address the lion’s share of the pension issue, the state run Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS), it does show Phoenix’s commitment to fiscal responsibility as well as its workforce.

The vote to approve this recommendation is scheduled for the March 4th agenda (Item 51).  I encourage all of you to call, write or e-mail the Mayor and your City Council member and insist they vote in favor of this proposal.   

Additionally, demand that your Mayor and Council take a stand and support Police and Fire in their efforts to obtain similar reforms from the state legislature.  The excuse that Phoenix can’t control what is done at the Legislature does not relieve our Council of the duty to try.  Until PSPRS is reformed, our best efforts will continue to fall short in addressing the larger problem. 

If you have questions, concerns or would like further information, please call or e-mail me.      

Jason Stokes


Megan Lange Memorial Fund         

Megan Lange was a Phoenix Fire Department dispatcher who was tragically killed on her way home from work in an automobile accident involving an alleged wrong-way driver.  Megan leaves behind her husband and two young children whose lives have been shattered by this tragic event.  The link below will give you the opportunity to contibute some much needed monetary assistance to the Lange family in their time of need.  All donations are being administered by the United Phoenix Firefighters Community Charities, a registered 501c3 charity.

On-going Request for Leave Donations
Release time is utilized for employee representation during PMG appeals, investigatory processes, grievance preparation, and the day-to-day management of the office.  

We are asking for your support and participation in this effort and hope that you will decide to Opt in your donation of three hours or more. Attached to this message is the donation form.  Please show your commitment to preserving your benefits and future security.  



Year 1 & 2 Concessions

Year 1 (FY 2014/15)
Reduce Deferred Compensation from 5.16% to 3.06% (a 2.10% decrease) in 2014-15.

Year 2 (FY 2015/16)
Reduce Deferred Compensation from 3.06% to 1.91% (additional 1.15% decrease) in 2015-16.