County officials had tried to force renegade County Manager out for years; he was the main force causing the county feuds
Another corrupt county employee who Sheriff Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas tried to prosecute goes down. One by one, the corrupt county officials who successfully thwarted prosecution are proving that Arpaio and Thomas were right. Judge Donahoe abruptly resigned from the bench. Kenny Harris, the chief engineer on the court tower, was fired under suspicious circumstances by Smith. Supervisor Don Stapley is not running for reelection. Supervisor Fulton Brock’s career is over now that his complicit role in hiding his wife’s affair with a minor has come out. Several county employees have been suspended or fired for accepting bribes related to the court tower. It seems like every few weeks another county employee connected to the Supervisors’ office is exposed.
Now Maricopa County Manager David Smith, the Supervisors’ hatchet man and highest paid employee in the county, is suddenly resigning in the midst of the county lawsuits and feuding. We heard from county insiders a month ago that this was in the works, due to inside pressure being placed on Smith. Smith sent out a self-congratulatory resignation letter to all county employees on February 27, bragging about his history of working at the county.
The Supervisors issued a similarly plastic announcement full of fake praise from corrupt Supervisors Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox. Smith claimed in his email, “Our low-cost leadership in providing public services is unmatched.” This is false. Smith spearheaded the building of the Taj Mahal court tower, which cost taxpayers $347 million during a recession, and included luxury building materials, penthouse quarters for the judges, etc. The Supervisors regularly increase property taxes by spinning off unprofitable parts of the county into new taxing districts that add additional taxes to homeowners’ tax bills. Of course they lie to taxpayers about this, pointing only at the primary tax rate which they do not increase.
Insiders at the county tell us that even the sleazy county supervisors were getting tired of Smith embroiling them in battles with other county officials like Arpaio and Thomas, and told him it was time to go. He saw the writing on the wall that when the new county supervisors are elected they will not keep him on. The public was beginning to see through Smith’s aggressive efforts to launch investigations into other county officials who had been merely trying to do their jobs and root out corruption at the Supervisors’ office.Smith kept settling lawsuits by corrupt county officials instead of forcing them to litigate them all the way through on the merits, awarding his cronies hundreds of thousands of dollars over “stress” from being prosecuted by Arpaio and Thomas. Taxpayers will be required to pay for these large awards.
The Supervisors’ cozy relationship with the Arizona Republic had sustained Smith’s tenure for years, covering up his wrongdoing. A few years ago the Supervisors hired Richard DeUriarte from the Arizona Republic as their press spokesperson, who was the former boss of Yvonne Wingett, the Republic reporter who covers the county. Wingett’s articles sound like press releases from the Supervisors.
Under Smith, Maricopa County has become the worst-run county in the nation. His legacy? Putting hardworking families out in the street with layoffs of county employees in order to build his Taj Mahal. Smith makes $227,198/yr. If he has worked for enough years in government he will qualify for over $200,000/yr in retirement pay from the taxpayers. Ironically, it is a bargain to pay him off and get him out of there rather than continue the financial damage he is causing to the county.
There are several candidates running for County Supervisor positions. It is long overdue to clean out the Supervisors’ office and stop the government waste and incessant expensive taxpayer-funded attacks on conservative county officials.
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