Right now, public unions are trying to fleece the taxpayers of Mesa. In addition to the dozens of candidates, judicial retention decisions, and statewide propositions, voters in Mesa will also decide on two amendments to their city Charter that will result in a shakedown of taxpayers and would insulate politicians from accountability.

The first, Prop 476, would give Mesa Unions special access to leverage for taxpayer-funded benefits behind closed doors. The other, Prop 477, removes accountability for wasteful spending, allowing unelected bureaucrats to spend money without council approval and letting elected politicians off the hook.

Vote NO on Prop 476

The city of Mesa used to engage in a process known as “meet and confer” with public labor unions. This process requires city bureaucrats to “discuss” wages, benefits, and time off with union bosses. In reality, it is a way to bamboozle the city and fleece the taxpayers with millions in wasteful spending.

The “meet and confer” process requires the city to meet with unions in “good faith.” So, if the city doesn’t kowtow to the demands of the taxpayer-funded union bosses, they can threaten to sue the city for not engaging in good faith, resulting in costly litigation. In other words, good faith simply means the union bosses get what they want.

Thankfully, Mesa backed off and ended this crummy practice in 2017 when the Goldwater Institute informed them that it violated their Charter. Now, just five years later, the unions are coming back, trying to convince Mesa voters to amend the Charter to permanently allow them to negotiate these backroom deals with city bureaucrats that will cost taxpayers millions.

There’s a reason Mesa’s Charter currently prohibits it—and why neighboring towns like Gilbert prohibited it in 2014—to protect taxpayers and to prevent the city from becoming the next Phoenix with its $3.4 billion in pension debt.

Vote NO on Prop 477

Then there is Prop 477, also amending the city Charter, to allow unelected bureaucrats to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars without ever getting approval from the city council. Currently, city bureaucrats are limited to $25,000 in purchases without council approval. Prop 477 rips off that guardrail and allows the council to raise the cap however high it wants.

Just look to California, where the Westminster City Manager hired a consultant costing taxpayers $6,400 a month, which was below his purchasing limit of $175,000. The city council was never consulted and found out about the deal two months after the contract had been signed.

Prop 477 opens the floodgates for bureaucrats to spend in the dark, allowing politicians off the hook to wash their hands of unpopular purchases and preventing voters from reining in wasteful spending.

Propositions 476 and 477 are about empowering big unions and unelected bureaucrats to conduct more of the city’s business in the dark and out of the sight of taxpayers and their elected representatives.  Residents of Mesa should resoundingly reject both to protect their hard-earned dollars and retain their power to hold politicians accountable at the ballot box.

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