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  • Valley Telegraph

Chandler Descends Into Urban Machine Politics Dominated by Public Sector Unions

Massive pay raises for city staff contrast with modest private sector raises and high inflation shouldered by taxpayers.

Cumulative inflation since Joe Biden was installed into the office of the US Presidency in January of 2020 is close to 20%, meaning prices in 2024 are 20% higher than in 2020. Earnings of workers have not kept pace with that and have risen by only about 15%, leaving them close to 5% worse off in terms of real purchasing power.

However, the picture is different in the public sector. As Chandler is pursuing an aggressive course to Phoenix and Tempe style urbanization, its politics more and more become dominated by public sector unions. This style of machine politics sees public sector unions supporting politicians that promote policies that sees the pay and benefits of public sector workers rise, at the expensive of private sector workers who have to pay for this.

In Chandler the City Council, led by mayor Kevin Hartke, supported by hard-left members such as OD Harris and Angel Encinas, approved large pay raises for City of Chandler workers. Below are examples:

  • City Manager Joshua Wright started about 4 years ago at $277,056. He currently earns $309,546 per year. His pay was be increased to 340,516 on July 1, 2024 and will be increased to $374,567 next year. That's in increase of more than 35% in only 5 years. Again, typical private sector pay has increased by 15% in the same time frame.

  • City Attorney Kelly Schwab made $248,622 per year last year which will increase to $300,851 in two years time, and increase of 20% in only 3 years.

  • City Clerk Dana DeLong's salary will increase from $169,562 last year to $199,618 next year, just under 20% in 3 years.

The Chandler City Council recently approved a budget of over $1.6 Billion, over 80% more than only 4 years ago. A large chunk of this increase is due to increased salary and headcount. Chandler has a population of around 300,000. This means that for every resident, from newborn to elderly, the city spends around $6,000 of tax payer money. Four years ago this number was closer to $3,500. For comparison, the City of Phoenix, with a population of over 1.5 Million has a budget of just over $2Billion. That works out to about $1,500 of taxpayer money spent per resident.

As a result of this style of machine politics and fiscal insanity, the City is scrambling for revenue. High density housing and warehouses built on the last few bits of remaining vacant land are a result. This transforms Chandler's unique charm into an anytown type of feel also characterized by higher crime, more homelessness and panhandling, worse schools, worse services and of course higher taxes. While tax increases can be pushed off a little into the future by taking out loans via municipal bond issuance, in the current high interest rate environment - cause by high inflation - the bills for this largess will come due very soon.

Just as the United States is now paying more for the interest on its national debt than for defense, you can soon expect Chandler to pay much more for servicing its debt. This will have to be born by tax payers. Hold on to your seats, and your wallets, if you can.



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