Captain Rick: Gilbert, Arizona: 5 of 7 council members voted on March 7, 2013 to increase employee compensation by $12 million during the coming year…a cost of $60 for each of Gilbert’s 220,000 citizens. A recent market study conducted by a consulting firm stated that Gilbert employees are paid 2% below the private sector and 13% below the public sector in the Phoenix area. 5 council members voted to use an average of these percentages to raise employee salary mid-points to be 6.5% above the private sector. 2 council members voted to scale back the mid-point from 50% to 45%, effectively promoting a 1.5% increase above the private sector.

I found the employee compensation study remarkable, but not surprising, that it shows that Gilbert lags the public sector by 13% and the private sector by 2%, an 11 percentage point difference. It leads me to draw one of two conclusions. Either the public sector is overpaid by 11 percentage points or the public sector is 11 percentage points less productive. Based on my perception of the public sector over many decades, I suspect the reason is a combination of both. A 2% increase in Gilbert job scales to bring them equal to the 50th percentile of the private sector is justifiable. 2 council members offered a 1.5% premium on top of that. It was rejected by the other 5 members who voted for a 6.5% premium. In my opinion, they do not understand math or economics.

This legislation contained great improvements to the way Gilbert currently manages employee compensation. It is such a shame that 5 members of our council had to bastardize it by NOT listening to the common sense presented by the other 2. Gilbert should be a leader of efficiency, not a follower of inefficiency, which this vote provides. I hope that this post will help draw these 5 members back to reality to find a way to correct this gross travesty they have cast upon the citizens of my town of Gilbert, the place I have loved to call home for over 15 years.


Captain Rick presents the first Gilbert Council PROPER VOTE award of 2013 to Victor Petersen and Jared Taylor for voting NO on this issue.


Your PROPER VOTE has been registered on Captain Rick’s Gilbert Council Scorecard:

How much increase in pay can Gilbert employees expect?

Based on data from Gilbert’s 2012-2013 Budget (link below), if we divide the $11,900,000 expenditure approved by this vote, by 1201 Gilbert employees, the resultant is an average of 12.3% pay increase or $9,909 annually. The average Gilbert salary will be $90,748. That is one heck of a salary. I am wondering how many private sector employees make a salary as lucitive as this and if Gilbert has too many high paid ‘Chiefs’ and well paid ‘Indians’?

Gilbert’s 2012-2013 Budget:

Supporting data details:

General fund:

869.32 employees (page 66) at a cost of $74,059,895 (page 68).

$8,000,000 in pay increases, approved by this vote, results in an average 10.8% pay increase of $9203 annually.

Non general fund:

Enterprise: 238.93 positions (page 66) at a cost of $15,908,094 (page 150)

Streets: 51.3 positions (page 66) at a cost of $3,445,856 (page 200)

Internal service funds: 26 positions (page 66) at a cost of $1,685,730 (page 212)

Capital Projects: 5.75 positions (page 66) at a cost of $555,040 (page 240)

Special Revenue: 9.6 positions (page 66) at a cost of $1,434,000 (page 226)

Total Non-Gen: 331.58 positions (sum) at a cost of $23,028,720 personnel costs (sum)

$3,900,000 in pay increases, approved by this vote, results in an average 16.9% pay increase of $11,762 annually

Total costs: $74,059,895 (General fund) + $23,028,720 (Non-General funds) =  $97,088,615

Average salary with approved increase

$97,088,615 (Total costs) + $11,900,000 (approved increase) = $108,988,615  / 1201 employees = $90,748

Note: All financial figures include employer contributions to Social Security, retirement and healthcare.

  1. Maxine Steiner says:

    How much are they going to receive with this raise.? All I saw was percentage.

    • atridim says:

      Hi Maxine,
      Based on data from the Gilbert Budget, if we divide the $12M expenditure by 1200 Gilbert employees, the resultant is an average of 12.3% pay increase or $9,909 annually. The average Gilbert salary will be $90,748. That is one heck of a salary. I am wondering if Gilbert has too many high paid ‘Chiefs’ and well paid ‘Indians’?

      Captain Rick

  2. Dave Petersen says:

    What is really sad is to see people you help get elected to the council vote for the $13m in bureaucratic raises. All it is is a vote buying scheme setup by the town management and when it really sinks in to the voters minds what really happen – things will happen that will make the 406 fight look likes child’s play.

    It’s like they got on the council and started drinking the kool-aid served up by the staff and forgot about why they were elected.

    • atridim says:

      Hi Dave,
      Thanks for your comment. Its always great to welcome a previous Gilbert Council member to my family of commenters. Having viewed every Gilbert Council Meeting since 1997, I have seen you in action many times.
      Your voice is important! Please feel free to comment regularly on my posts.
      Captain Rick

  3. Dave Petersen says:

    The town is a service organization because it doesn’t produce anything, it just provides services for the community. When the Town of Gilbert went to a 4 day work week they basically cut their services by 20%. Oh sure they work longer hours and are open longer during the 4 days they are open, cause the employees of this service group still need to get in their 40 hours. However the community can not go to the town hall on Friday and obtain any service – it’s Closed.

    As we listen to the council tell us how they are doing this for us, to save us money – we soon realize that the $125,000.00 savings (on the light bill, I suppose) soon pales when compared to this $13 million dollar expenditure for raises for the 4 days a week service organization.

    As we take into account the compensation package and salary scale that come with this pay raise we can see that the average raise for a town of Gilbert employee is 20%. So we get 20% less service than any other city in the state and it costs us 20% more to boot. With the average town salary over $105,000 it is no wonder there are over 1200 applicants for every job that opens up at the Town of Gilbert.

    Either 5 out of 7 town council members are drinking the kool-aid whipped up by the staff or they are drinking the heavily fluoridated town water. Either way, this council is setting the bar pretty high for other communities to follow: Gilbert has the highest paid employees and is open the fewest days of the week.

    • atridim says:

      Hi Dave,
      Thanks for your comment. It is appreciated!
      Captain Rick

    • Dave is right. The people who are sacrificing the most due to the 4-day work week are the everyday citizens who cannot obtain services on Friday. Our sacrifice resulted in savings to the Town, but the savings is minimal compared to the inconvenience to the citizens. I think the Town should go back to staying open to the public 5 days a week. Or will 5 members of the Council worry that this will inconvenience the Town employees?

      • atridim says:

        Hi Anita,
        Thanks for your comment. It is appreciated.
        I agree 100% with your suggestion to have the Town go back to a 5 day week. I love the last line!
        Captain Rick

    • Garland Hatch says:

      Perfectly said Dave ! Thank you for courageously speaking the truth ! By the way, how do I apply for a job with the Town of Gilbert ? haha. The salary and ESPECIALLY THE BENEFITS are much better than struggling in the free market in today’s economic enviornment….Maybe everyone should work for the govt. with that kind of pay and benefits. Oh ya that won’t work…because then there will be no one to tax…to pay those govt. salaries and benefits.

      • atridim says:

        Hi Garland,
        I enjoyed your summation of working in the public sector v private.
        Thanks also for your kind words in your email. Your closing quotation is excellent: “You can not demand Change …. It must be inspired”. That well descibes one of my blog’s goals.
        Thanks for your comment. It is appreciated. I hope you comment regularily.
        Captain Rick

      • Garland Hatch says:

        You’re welcome…and thank you.

        Garland Hatch   “In  God  We  Trust”    “You can not demand Change …. It must be inspired”  

    • atridim says:

      Hi Dave,
      You have a reply from Susan. See new comment below.
      Captain Rick

  4. Susan says:

    Dave, did you sent the council an email with your thoughts…..they need to hear what you have to say! You’re right on target!

  5. Dave Petersen says:

    Susan, No email as they get lost in the stack of paperwork, I spoke at the council meeting. As soon as I walked in the council chambers everyone in there knew where I stood on this issue. When I got up to speak even the staff tried to throw me off – they buzzed me 5 seconds into my remarks – then everyone had a good laugh at this “mistake”.

    The town manager proved my point, though I didn’t vocalize it, that they don’t deserve to be the best paid employees in the state of Arizona,as their leader, the town manager, buzzed me on at the 5 second mark intensionally, to throw me off my game. thus proving his distain for citizens that shine the light on bureaucratic greed. Or he can’t even run a small timer properly so why are we paying him over 220k per year. The whole thing is an embarrassment to the citizens of the town of Gilbert.

    You can watch it on the town website – I wasn’t too polished, but the points are made and the council was put on notice, “the citizens of Gilbert will not stand for this”. And as Captain Rick has so well pointed out this is a huge raise and it’s costing us taxpayers million upon millions of dollars.

    The big question is are we just going to sit still while they over pay a whole herd of bureaucrats or are we going to act. $90,000+ average salary per town employee is just plain craziness!

  6. […] had a similar situation a few years ago.  Gilbert did a public review, getting some expert help. If the Town of Gilbert can give it a shot, so can GPS. We’re not insisting on perfection. Here’s an example of how the Town of […]

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