When a judge tells you you're breaking the law, it's generally not a good idea to thumb your nose at her. Yet that's exactly what Phoenix is doing.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper agreed with the Goldwater Institute that the city's practice of paying employee-union leaders violated the state Constitution's gift clause, which requires cities to get substantial benefits for the public money they spend.
The right response would be to stop the practice. Instead, Phoenix's labor negotiator is meeting with union leaders to concoct a list of benefits. It will be fiction.
The simple fact remains: Union leaders' first duty is to their members. Not the city. Not taxpayers.
There's nothing wrong with that. It's their job. If the city gains any benefits, it's a byproduct of the union working on members' behalf. It is not a result of the city paying their salaries.
Union members, not taxpayers, should pay union leaders' salaries. That was the gist of Cooper's decision. Phoenix should respect her ruling, instead of concocting a tale to get