Employee Count Per Capita Smallest in 40 Years Even as City Continues to Grow

Nov. 4, 2010

The City Council yesterday approved the next step in a series of efficiences and innovations for the City of Phoenix by reducing the number of full-time positions by 546.

Even though the city has grown tremendously since 1970, this action reduces the total number of full-time positions to 15,090, or 9.4 positions per thousand residents, making the employee count the smallest number per capita in 40 years.

"In the City of Phoenix, doing more with less isn't simply a cliché we throw around," said Mayor Phil Gordon.

"Our residents demand safe neighborhoods and a dependable, growing economy, and we will continue providing the outstanding customer service that has earned us a reputation as one of the best-run cities in the world, even as we do so with fewer people."

The position eliminations include 489 vacant positions in the city's General Fund and 57 additional General Fund sworn police positions as they become vacant over the next several months. These reductions are in addition to the more than 2,000 positions the city has eliminated over the last three years.

"Just as the private sector has tightened its belt with workforce reductions in a weak economy, the city has reduced its workforce after considerable thought and discussion in a manner which ensures continued excellent customer services," said Councilman Bill Gates, chairman of the City Council Finance, Efficiency and Innovation Subcommittee.

To clearly indicate an accurate staffing count, the positions were eliminated from departments across the organization. Criteria used for elimination included minimizing impacts to service delivery and continued focus on resident and employee safety.

"It is important for the city to continue focusing on better use of human resources to lower costs and provide more efficient government," said Diane Scherer, CEO of Phoenix Association of Realtors and member of the city's Innovation and Efficiency Task Force.

Here's a look at some comparisons of Phoenix in 1970 and Phoenix in 2010:

  • Population - - 584,303 vs. 1.6 million, or an increase of 174%
  • Employee count - - 9.7 per 1,000 residents in 1970 vs. 9.4 per 1,000 residents in 2010
  • Passengers arriving and departing Sky Harbor - - 2.9 million vs. 37 million, or an increase of nearly 1,200%
  • Water and wastewater connections - - 172,100 and 169,000 vs. 404,000 and 375,000, or more than double the number of connections
  • City-run parks - - 121 vs. 225, or an 86% increase
  • Library book circulation - - 2.4 million vs. 14.8 million, or more than six times greater
  • Fire stations - - 30 vs. 59, or nearly double the number of stations
  • Ambulance service/emergency medical calls (added in 1980) - - 46,000 vs. 126,000, a 174% increase
  • Police dispatched calls for service - - 374,000 vs. 664,000, a 78% increase

The City Council also has approved many other efficiencies, saving the city millions of dollars to date. Examples include consolidating some city departments and functions ($1,425,000); streamlining the city's Reserve-A-Ride program ($860,000); eliminating paper pay stubs ($85,000); rebidding life insurance contracts ($511,000); moving the Public Works Department from its current building to City Hall ($250,000); and various other process improvements ($550,000).


Media Contact:

Toni Maccarone 602-262-4860