State Senator Paul Boyer’s ongoing crusade against the City of Glendale was supposed to be about insurance coverage for a firefighter struck with cancer. Even as the City’s Mayor and Council worked to find a way to approve coverage for the firefighter, Boyer was actively trashing Mayor Jerry Weiers and the City through his social media accounts and media interviews. When the Mayor announced that the City had successfully covered their first responder Boyer gave them little credit, even as the firefighter himself was overjoyed at the news.
This week, Boyer met with the Glendale City Manager to learn more about the situation and took to Twitter after the meeting was over to voice his displeasure at the City Manager expressing concerns over the long-term costs of covering lots of these sorts of cases. Most City officials don’t seem to care about costs, so perhaps the more conservative approach from Glendale’s City Manager threw Boyer off, but Boyer decided to make his battle personal with not just Glendale’s City Manager, but every city in the state of Arizona.
I’ll be introducing a bill this session ensuring no city bureaucrat makes more than the Governor. I’ll be exempting our true heroes, cops and firefighters of course.
— Paul Boyer (@PaulDBoyer) September 17, 2019
The Governor of Arizona makes just $95,000 a year, less than Glendale’s City Manager. In fact, that is far less than scores of City employees, many of whom hold advanced degrees and who have private sector employment options as well. Phoenix’ City Manager makes “$315,000 a year to oversee more than 14,000 employees and manage services to 1.6 million residents” according to AZ Republic columnist Elvira Diaz, who called Boyer’s idea laughable, silly, and dumb.
The League of Cities & Towns also pointed out the harm the idea could do to cities trying to attract and retain talent, particularly in positions like managers and city attorneys. They have promised to try to talk Boyer out of his idea and hope that reason and logic might prevail at the end.
Boyer is not the first lawmaker to use his power to settle personal grudges, but going to war against a city in his own legislative district has Republicans in his own district unsettled. “Boyer seemed to love fighting Governor Ducey and the Republicans over the state budget and how he wants to fight Jerry Weiers and Glendale, but we can’t figure out why.” said one GOP operative, adding “He and Weiers were basically both trying to get the firefighter covered but it’s like Boyer wanted to be the hero of the story so he tried to make the Mayor the villain. Now he’s going to try to hurt the City? It’s insane. These people live in his district!”
The legislative proposal is also causing concern over whether or not it will apply to school employees, many of whom also make over $95,000. The bill would not cover state employees, which critics contend proves the bill is not about policy so much as political payback.