Fresh off his holdout on the state budget until he was able to pass his top legislative priority, State Senator Paul Boyer is back on the warpath, this time attacking former legislator and current Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and the rest of the Glendale City Council. Boyer is upset that a Glendale firefighter had applied for health benefits related to a cancer diagnosis and had been turned down for taxpayer funded benefits from the City. Boyer blasted the Mayor and Council through press statements for “systematically denying firefighter claims when they get cancer on the job” and also took them to task for cancelling a meeting he had been scheduled to have with them.
On Monday the City fired back, pointing out that they were bound to follow state law which required that the City have no authority or power to deny a claim, that the claim be filed with the State Industrial Commission of Arizona, that it be investigated by a third-party administrator, that an appeals process be provided for anyone whose claim was denied, and that the City strictly abide by the (findings of the Commission). In this case the City of Glendale appears to have followed each part of the law.
The City also pointed out that Senator Boyer should know all of this because it was Boyer’s 2017 law that they were following.
Finally, the City said that they believed Boyer was taking shots at the Mayor and Council on behalf of the firefighter unions who have spent much of the last decade trying to take control of the Glendale City Government without success, including running a former fire chief for Mayor in 2016 and spending large sums of union dollars on the local elections there.
In his attacks on Glendale, Boyer claimed that the City said, “Oh we don’t believe that you got cancer on the job,” when no one at the City has said any such thing. The City has also asked Boyer to provide documentation in support of his claims that City officials are violating state law in denying medical coverage, but Boyer has not provided them with anything at this time.
Glendale observers believe Boyer is trying to position himself for a run for Mayor or he is trying to set the stage for the unions to take another run at Weiers and another councilmember or two. Weiers himself has been in the news recently as part of press coverage of Glendale’s rise from near bankruptcy when Weiers was first elected to its status as one of the state’s top cities. Weiers has also been gearing up for a potential challenge with a series of fundraisers that observers expect will leave him in stronger financial shape than he was in his two previous city elections. However, any candidate backed by the collective strength of major unions like the firefighters would also be very well funded.