Questions raised about timing of PHX city manager's resignation - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Questions raised about timing of PHX city manager's resignation

PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Last week, the city manager of Phoenix announced he was resigning to take the same job with the city of Santa Ana.

Now questions are being raised about the timing of his departure.

When David Cavazos leaves for his new post in California, he'll likely be collecting a hefty pension from Phoenix.

The rule of 80 applies to the city's retirement system for civilians; it's age plus years of service.

When Cavazos leaves in October, he will have hit that magic number.

"Anybody should've known he's due to retire within the year," said retired Phoenix police Lt. Jim Edmondson. "I mean, that would be part of your homework. At the very least, there should have been some binding contractual agreement that would've kept David here for at least five years."

Edmondson is outraged that Cavazos is leaving less than a year after the city council approved his $78,000 raise – bumping Cavazos' annual salary from $237,000 to $315,000.

"Even though he didn't stay a year, that's going to be formulated as additional increases in his lifetime pension," said Edmondson. "It's an insult to every hard-working man and woman with the city of Phoenix."

Edmondson sent an email to councilwoman Thelda Williams, who voted for Cavazos' 33 percent salary hike last November, echoing those sentiments.

Williams told CBS 5 News she's disappointed Cavazos is leaving.

She said while there wasn't anything binding in his contract, there was an implied promise he would stay.

"It was a big raise at a time where we weren't hiring police officers and we still had the food tax," said Councilman Jim Waring. "I just felt it'd be bad for morale."

Waring was the only council member to vote against a raise for Cavazos.

He said he's not surprised about the city manager's decision to leave.

"He was a free agent, more or less, and he took a different route than staying with his hometown team," said Waring.

Edmondson said while Cavazos isn't breaking a contract or the law, his decision to retire from Phoenix and take a city manager job in Santa Ana is an ethical misstep.

"Financially, I'm sure he's very happy," said Edmondson. "It kind of reminds me of that Steve Miller song in the 70's, ‘Take the Money and Run.'  And he has certainly done that."

Cavazos was not available for comment Monday – nor were the other council members who voted for his pay raise.

CBS5 News will continue to dig for answers and bring you updates on this developing story.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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