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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 17 years and 119 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Before we delve into the world of finances used to host the Super Bowl remember that the city actually hosted 3 major events at the stadium in 2015: the Fiesta Bowl, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl.

We’ll look at the murky finances of hosting the Fiesta Bowl. It is the only one of the three major events for which there is any mechanism of even partial financial reimbursement. When the University of Phoenix stadium opened on August 1, 2006 the city entered into an agreement not with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) but with the management company, Global Spectrum, which AZSTA hired to manage the stadium. The Fiesta Bowl Committee rents the stadium and contracts with Global Spectrum to manage the event. The agreement between Global Spectrum and the city requires police and fire service partial reimbursement. Global Spectrum reimburses the city for only these two services.

The two latest agreements between the parties are dated October 22, 2013 for fire services and April 10, 2014 for police services. In the 2013 agreement Global pays an hourly rate of $40.00 for fire services. In the 2014 agreement Global pays an hourly rate of $51.10 for police services with provision for an annual increase of 3%.

From the March 20, 2012 city council budget workshop minutes we learned the following, “Councilmember Lieberman asked if the city paid the salary of all the officers from other municipalities that come to help them in trafficking for events such as the Fiesta Bowl. Assistant Chief Greg Dominguez, explained the city does have an account that was budgeted for the staffing that was specific to the Fiesta Bowl. Therefore, the city does cover salaries for those events.”

In response to my Public Information Request I received the following information from the city for police costs for the Fiesta Bowl:

  • Police billable hours are 1,152.38 and billable wages are $53,671.63
  • Police non-billable hours are 1,287.89 and non-billable wages are $70,765.20
  • Total police hours are 2,440.27 and total wages are $126,436.83

Yet another city document I received entitled 2015 YTD (Year to date) Budget Control Report Details listed police expenses for the Fiesta Bowl of:

  • Temporary pay of $36,640.00
  • Overtime pay of $43,999.07
  • Emergency Service pay of $880.00
  • Fire & Liability insurance of $727.51
  • Professional and Contractual to Airwest Aviation Academy of $1,174.50
  • Line Supplies (Insight, Zoro tools, Best Buy and Motorola) of $3,926.97
  • Total of these line items is $87,347.06

With no further clarification from the city I have to assume that $87,347.06 is in addition to the total wages reported of $126,436.83. These two city generated reports total $213,783.89 for which the city received reimbursement for billable hours and wages of $53,671.63. These reports confirm that city paid at least $160,112.26 from its General Fund to host the Fiesta Bowl. I suspect that this figure is low because in the city’s FY 2015-16 budget $245,975 is the figure used.

Fire costs for the Fiesta Bowl are:

  • Hours of 425.25 and wages of $26,953.18
  • There is no distinction between billable and non billable hours and wages

In its 2015 YTD Budget Control Report Details fire expenses are listed as:

  • Overtime pay of $19,330.61
  • Emergency Service pay of $2,200.00
  • Fire & Liability insurance of $296.24
  • Line supplies (Insight, Lowes, Salsa Blanca, Shane’s Rib Shack, Home Depot, AGP Propane, Segway of Scottsdale, RV Storage, Roadrunner Oxygen, Cabela’s, Office Depot) of $6,999.14
  • Total of these line items is $28,826.99

The two city generated reports total $55,780.17. This tracks with the FY 2015-26 budget of $58,816.00 for fire. Note that fire does not make any budgetary distinction between billable and non-billable hours and wages. Since it tracks so closely to the budgeted amount it may be safe to assume that this cost reflects non-billable hours and wages.

In yet another city generated 2015 YTD Budget Control Report for Transportation we see:

  • Overtime pay of $74.88
  • Fire & Liability insurance of $191.25
  • Professional & Contractual for shuttle services of $26,049.40
  • Line supplies (Culver’s) of $60.74
  • Total of these line items is $26,376.27

After reimbursement for some public safety costs the best estimate of total non-reimbursable costs for the Fiesta Bowl paid by the city’s General Fund is $301,783.99. But this figure is only attributable to police, fire and shuttle services.   Remember there are other costs not tracked by the city. Items not tracked are salaries, straight time and overtime in transportation, sanitation, marketing, building safety plus the use of city equipment. How much did they use in time, equipment and material? We don’t know and guess what; neither does the city because it doesn’t track any of these additional costs. That makes my assumption as to Fiesta Bowl costs as reasonable as theirs.

The figure to host the Fiesta Bowl is $300,000 on the low end and about $500,000 on the high end. It is reasonable to assume that it is closer to $500,000 when the hidden, untracked, unreimbursed expenses are identified.

Why doesn’t the city track all costs for these major events? Pick your reason. It could be laziness or sheer incompetence. Conspiracy theorists will say that the city doesn’t want its citizens to know. They believe, and they may be right, that Glendale residents would be outraged to learn exactly how much the city’s role as a sports mecca costs. Residents may realize that sports hosting costs remove available revenue to upgrade or to construct amenities that enhance a city’s quality of life…and that is a bigger deal than a football game.

Next up the cost of the Super Bowl (and Pro Bowl).

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It has been 17 years and 115 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

This series of blogs is an in depth look at the true costs to the City of Glendale to host the Fiesta Bowl, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl in 2015. This has been difficult to write. Not because the subject matter is difficult but because the city’s response was complex, in some cases non-resposive and much of the material they provided required extensive untangling. The city is to be commended on supplying the answers to my request in a very timely fashion. There is a disclaimer. Despite my desire to obtain complete information from the city, the city did not create a mechanism to capture all of the costs that could be attributed to any of these events. More about this later.

It has been widely reported that Tom Duensing, Glendale’s Finance Director, claimed the cost of hosting the 2015 Super Bowl at $2.2 million dollars. Yet the cost to host the 2008 Super Bowl to the city was $2.8 million dollars. How could hosting in 2015 cost the city less? The answer is…it didn’t.

Inflation alone would have made all costs for services and equipment rise. The average inflation rate per year from 2008 to 2014 was 1.97% or 13.4% for seven years (the amount of time between the two hostings). See this link: http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/historical-inflation-rates/ . Just to account for inflation added to the 2008 cost of $2.8M would drive up the 2015 cost to $3.7M. How does Mr. Duensing, with a straight face, claim a 2015 Super Bowl cost of only $2.2M? It’s quite simple…don’t count everything.

My Public Information Request to the city included:

  • The cost attributable to each event of planning for, preparation for, game day hosting and after actions.
  • A list of all departments that contributed, by event, in any way, including but not limited to Public Safety as well as any and all departments involved from the Attorney’s Office to Zoning (A to Z).
  • The number of employees used for each event from all departments you list, including but not limited to consultants, contract employees or regular (salaried and at will) employees.
  • The number of hours attributable to each event, by department, including but not limited to planning, preparing, action upon and after action review of each of these 3 major events.
  • The total dollar figure for employee costs attributable to each event, including but not limited to straight time pay, overtime pay, special pay, time and a half pay. List of all employees by job title and department, dollar amount for each of those employees who received overtime pay, special pay, assignment pay, time and a half pay, bonuses, Police & Fire to include sworn and non-sworn administrative staff from those departments. Separate list for each of those three events.
  • The total dollar figure attributable to each event for use of all equipment by department or rented from other sources from but not limited to vehicles to trash cans whether a city asset or rented.
  • Total revenues earned by the City of Glendale directly attributable to each of the three events, including but not limited to sales taxes, fees, in-kind contributions and reimbursed costs.

Now that is a very, very specific and detailed Public Information Request. Here’s a secret. If ever you have occasion to request information from this city or from any other governmental agency for that matter, you must be very specific and very precise in your wording. Governmental agencies don’t want you, the public, to have information. Information in today’s world is power. They don’t want to cede their power. If you were to be made aware of the information, you just might question how and why monies were spent.

Let’s begin with my first question: “The cost attributable to each event of planning for, preparation for, game day hosting and after actions.” What do we learn from the city’s response to this question? First, that it did not provide a complete answer. The city’s convention bureau paid the Super Bowl Host Committee $72,000 in support of the Super Bowl. These were not city funds. At the city council meeting of December 10, 2013 council passed Resolution 4758 authorizing the use of funds received from the Arizona Office of Tourism under Maricopa County Proposition 302 to be paid to the Host Committee. The city was merely a pass-through. It received the $72,000 grant, gave it to the CVB, who then gave it to the Host Committee in two payments: one in 2014 and one in 2015.

In November of 2014 the city formed a Super Bowl Operational Planning Team consisting of 22 employees. Those employees came from the Fire Department, Police Department, Code Enforcement, Planning Department, Intergovernmental Relations, Marketing & Communications, etc.  What we don’t get is information on how many times they met, for how long, what direction they gave to other departments. Did they meet for an hour, two hours? Once a week? Once a month? What about meetings outside of city hall, with the Host Committee or NFL agents?

Why wasn’t a special finance code number assigned so their hours could be tracked? This is over a year before the actual Super Bowl. The Finance Department had the time to set up a financial tracking system that would account for hours and salaries but they didn’t do it. The city then formed a separate Public Information Officer Distribution List comprised of 18 employees. A few were from the Operational Planning Team but a majority was not. This distribution list was to insure that all PIOs within the city received the same talking points if queried, about the Super Bowl. Again, we don’t know how much time these 18 PIOs spent on Super Bowl activities.

The city sent 7 employees to the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey. Four were from the Police Department and three were from the Fire Department. I would consider this trip as essential. Those 7 employees had direct responsibilities related to Glendale’s hosting of the Super Bowl. They learned current and valuable information. The cost of their travel was $18,639.10.

The city’s Code Compliance division created Clean Zone Enforcement Teams that operated from Saturday, January 24, 2015 through Sunday, February 1, 2015. This encompasses the period in which the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl took place. For 7 days out of that 9 day period teams of 2 code compliance officers were dedicated to the area of these events from 8 AM to 4 PM. On 2 Sundays during this period they worked from 8 AM to Noon. 8 full time employees (FTEs) were used for a total of 128 hours. There was no information provided relating to FTE costs associated with this effort.

What is learned from the city’s answers to this first question? The city and especially Mr. Duensing was very sloppy in tracking the costs of all three events distinctly incurred by other departments that were not attributable to Public Safety. Mr. Duensing was probably correct in using a figure of $2.2M for the Super Bowl but that figure appears related only to Public Safety costs and ignores the costs incurred by other departments.

For example, the Attorney’s Office spent time and personnel reviewing contracts associated with these events. The Building Safety division spent time and personnel inspecting temporary structures. The Sanitation Department made extra runs to pick up trash. The Streets division sent out street sweepers. The Transportation Department manned their transportation center to monitor traffic and hired a helicopter for their use to monitor traffic. They used man hours and FTEs making sure the traffic lights were synched properly. The Planning Department reviewed and approved plans for temporary structures. The Media & Communications Department and the Intergovernmental Relations Department also had duties related to these events. How many FTEs were used and how much time did they consume? How much of their salaries can we attribute? We don’t know because the city failed to track that information.

The hours and FTEs used for these events were enormous and placed a strain on the delivery of regular service to Glendale residents. Yet, unbelievably, the city created no mechanism to track the costs incurred by the many city departments tasked with contributing man power and time.

We know the city created an Operational Planning Team, a PIO team and a Code Compliance team but it can provide no costs associated with any of them. These were committees created a year before the actual events. There was time to create a method of tracking the time expended and costs associated but it was not done.

The only costs acknowledged by the city in answer to question #1 were the $72,000 grant passed on to the Host Committee (not city funds); and the $18,639.10 the city paid for public safety employees to attend the Super Bowl in New Jersey in 2014.

Next up…a look at Public Safety costs for each of the three events, the Fiesta Bowl, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

  • The Recall Councilman Gary Sherwood finally has its website up and running. Here is the link: http://www.stopsherwood.com .If you live in the Sahuaro district please share this site with your friends and neighbors. Below you will note an upcoming meeting on Becker billboards. Sherwood has been an ardent advocate for Becker billboards and that issue is just one of the reasons for his recall.
  • On Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9:30 AM at Glendale City Hall in the Council Chambers city council will hold a workshop meeting. Item #1 on its agenda is to receive the recommendations of the three citizen commissions. There is no opportunity for public comment. City Council does not vote at a workshop meeting. They discuss an issue and present their positions. A consensus if formed and further direction is given to staff by council. There are only 3 possible directions that can be given by council tomorrow: rejection of the proposal to sell the Foothills library building and its relocation to the Foothills Recreation & Aquatic Center; tabling the item for further information and discussion; or direction to move forward with the proposal.
  • A neighborhood meeting hosted by Mark Becker of Becker Billboards is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at the Arrowhead Elementary School at 6:00 PM. He is again seeking city approval to place digital and static billboards at the Loop 101 and Bell Road. Glendale planning staff will be in attendance to listen and take notes.
  • On March 4, 2015 I made a Public Records Request for costs associated with three recent events held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale – the Fiesta Bowl, the Pro Bowl Records request Mar 4 2015and the Super Bowl. What you may or may not know is that preparation for the Super Bowl began the day after it was announced that Glendale would be the host city. Glendale personnel were involved in visiting the previous year’s Super Bowl; were involved in countless hours of preparation; met with various Valley city agencies in joint preparation; and met with the Host Committee and NFL representatives. City supplies and vehicles were used. There were times when the hours used by employees went beyond the standard 40 hour work week and time and half pay or special pay was used. Many employees were involved from the City Attorney’s Office to the Zoning Department. Here is the text of my Public Records Request:

“The total cost of hosting the Pro Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Super Bowl to the City of Glendale to include the following:

  1. The cost attributable to each event of planning for, preparation for, game day hosting and after actions.
  2. A list of all departments that contributed, by event, in any way, including but not limited to Public Safety but any and all departments involved from the Attorney’s Office to Zoning (A to Z).
  3. The number of employees used for each event from all departments you list, including but not limited to consultants, contract employees or regular (salaried and at will) employees.
  4. The number of hours attributable to each event, by department, including but not limited to planning, preparing, acting upon and after action review of these 3 major events.
  5. The total dollar figure for employee costs attributable to each event, including but not limited to, straight time pay, overtime pay, special pay, time and half pay. List of all employees by job title and department, dollar amount for each of those employees who received overtime pay, special pay, assignment pay, time and a half pay, bonuses, Police & Fire to include sworn and non-sworn administrative staff from those departments. Separate list for each of those three events.
  6. The total dollar figure attributable to each event, for use of all equipment by department from but not limited to vehicles to trash cans whether a city asset or rented.

The total of revenues earned by the City of Glendale directly attribute to each of the 3 events, including but not limited to sales tax, fees, in-kind contributions and reimbursed costs.

All information to be included from April 1, 2014 to March 4, 2015.”

Tom Duensing, Glendale’s Finance Director, has publicly stated that the cost of the Super Bowl was about $2 million dollars. I believe when all of the information and data I requested is researched and made available to me, the cost will be way over the $2 million dollar mark. You will note I also requested the city costs associated with the Fiesta Bowl and Pro Bowl. Those are additional real dollars and real costs borne by the city. I suspect the numbers will surprise everyone.

I asked for an extensive amount of data and do not expect the information to be supplied in a week. I do expect it within a reasonable time period — a month. After all, Mr. Duensing is already claiming a number but I don’t think he has included all of the hidden costs. I will advise readers of the date that my Public Records Request is fulfilled.

This is the kind of hard data that should have been provided to every councilmember and the public. I hope that the results of my request will be shared with them and with the public-at-large. It’s our tax dollars and we surely have a right to know.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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