For Immediate Release: Supervisor Ally Miller questions fairness of BOS votes

Supervisor Ally Miller issued the following statement regarding the Pima County Board of Supervisors’ 4-1 votes on COVID-19 Premium Pay and deferred rent, utility, and maintenance payments for Pima County-owned properties: 

“Across Pima County, residents are doing their part to win the war against COVID-19. They are making tremendous sacrifices to protect the most vulnerable people in our community. In many cases, they have been compelled to shutter their businesses for which they have worked tirelessly. While Pima County government has seen fit to force their closures, other than a webpage and sparse posts on social media inviting the cash-strapped residents to “order take-out,” little has been done on the County level to mitigate their damages.  

“Our small business community and residents must still pay their property taxes without delay or deferment and hope their taxpayer funded stimulus checks come in time to feed their families and avoid additional lay-offs. 

“However, not all companies in the private sector are created equal in Pima County. For a select group of businesses – those that were lucky enough to sign sweetheart leases with Pima County – rental payments, utilities, and maintenance costs have been deferred. So while mom-and-pop restaurants scramble or fail to make payments for now idle businesses, others like Bank of America, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Southern New Hampshire University, University of Arizona, World View Enterprises, the Arizona Department of Economic Security, the UA College of Medicine, Banner Health (UA), and Accelerate Diagnostics enjoy deferred lease payments due to a 4-1 vote by the Board of Supervisors today. 

“The lack of inequitable treatment did not stop there. In a 4-1 vote by the Board of Supervisors, some County employees will receive a $2 an hour bonus for performing their duties. At this time, the vast majority of grocery and drug store employees are performing their duty to keep the supply chain in working order under incredible duress with little or no increase in wages. Why should public employees, who generally have generous benefit plans compared to private sector employees, receive more money for doing the duties for which they were hired? How can this be equitable? 

“Sheriff Napier claimed that the increase in was due to the fact that members of his staff have never had to potentially take home the hazards (COVID-19 virus) they face. That may be true, but the same could be said for employees at Safeway, Walmart, and Walgreens. 

“We are all living in perilous times that require sacrifice. All of the men and women on the front lines of this fight – from store clerks to County clerks – should be rewarded with the safest workplace conditions possible with guaranteed adequate Personal Protection Equipment and  the nation’s gratitude. Most of them want nothing more.

[View County Administrator Huckelberry’s Cost Delay memo]