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Judge bars Phoenix from paying police for union work

A judge is prohibiting Phoenix from paying police union officials for time spent on union activities.

Judge Katherine Cooper of Maricopa County Superior Court issued a preliminary injunction against so-called “release time” provided by the city to the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.

Cooper’s order in a case filed by Goldwater Institute on behalf of taxpayers says release time appears to violate the Arizona Constitution’s gift clause by using public money for private purposes.

The gift clause bars using public money to benefit individuals, associations or companies without providing direct tangible benefits for the public.

Cooper’s order covers a $1 million allocation release time under an agreement that ends June 30.

The Goldwater Institute says it will try to extend the ruling to a new agreement taking effect July 1.

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