Maricopa County Supervisors running amok: Scheming to block mandated election

A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maricopa County Supervisors running amok
Scheming to block mandated election

By Laurie Roberts, Arizona Republic

Apparently, the good folks who run this county don’t have a set of Arizona Revised Statutes.

If they did, Andy Thomas and his top aides wouldn’t be wheeling around town in cars paid for with the public dime.  But that outrageous transgression pales in comparison to what it appears the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors may be contemplating.

As everybody on the planet knows by now, Thomas is making plans to abandon his office in order to seek better digs over at the state AG’s office. To do that, he’ll have to resign by May.

State law allows the Board of Supervisors to then appoint another Republican to replace him.Of course, there is no way the Sups should touch that job, given that two of its five members are under indictment and would essentially be selecting their own prosecutor. Thomas is correct to assert that neutral party (retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor maybe?) should take over that job.

But even if the supervisors do go against good sense and appearances of a conflict, it seems there may be some private talk under way about how to get around state law – and those pesky people who might want a say in who will run prosecutions in this state for the next two years. Voters, I mean.

In a story this morning, Wade Swanson, the county’s director of general-litigation services, hinted that the supervisors may not be putting Thomas’ job up to a public vote this fall. Here’s an excerpt from the story, by Republic reporters Mike Kiefer and Yvonne Wingett:

“Swanson said county officials are concerned Thomas’ successor would not have enough time to gather thousands of signatures necessary to appear on a ballot. Swanson also confirmed that attorneys are looking at the succession matter but would not release related documents to The Arizona Republic, citing attorney-client privilege. Swanson said contract attorney Tom Irvine has been asked “to find an appropriate expert in this area.”

I don’t know what “an appropriate expert is”.  I do, however, know what the law says.

ARS 16-230. Vacancy in certain state or county offices; election
If a county office becomes vacant, the board of supervisors shall appoint a person of the same political party as the person vacating the office to fill the portion of the term until the next regular general election. If the vacancy occurs within the first two years of the term, and before the date on which a nomination paper is required to be filed as prescribed by section 16-311, a primary election shall be held as otherwise provided by law to determine candidates to fill the unexpired term. At the next regular general election, the person elected shall fill the remainder of the unexpired term of the vacant office.

It doesn’t say if a vacancy occurs within the first two years of the term, a primary election can be held.  It says it shall be held.  If Thomas resigns before the date on which nomination petitions must be filed, the supervisors must let voters have their say.

If Swanson believes Thomas is gaming the system to get his own guy in there, well I’m pretty sure the county sups know how to play games, too, with their own guys.

Or, they can do the sane thing and turn this particular appointment over to someone who doesn’t have a dog in this fight.

Now, can I send the county a bill for this studied legal opinion?

Laurie Roberts is a columnist for The Arizona Republic.

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  1. I’ve noticed more and more articles at the Republic, whether by Laurie Roberts, no conservative, or E.J. Montini, a total leftist who despises Arpaio and Thomas, are finally going negative on the Supervisors. It’s taken awhile, but it looks like even the liberal reporters are waking up and realizing we have a miniature Chicago-style politicking going on amongst the supervisors. Two are indicted and continuing to arrogantly blame the Sheriff and County Attorney in order to avoid being prosecuted. Just wait till this starts hitting Fox News and the bigtime media. I think this is only the beginning of this scandal escalating. The supervisors are so arrogant they think they can do anything without consequences, and it will finally be their downfall. The people elected Arpaio and Thomas, two good men, and corrupt supervisors are NOT going to put in their puppet instead!

  2. I moved here to get away from Chicago style politics. Guess what? It’s here. It’s totally absurd that BOS would appoint a replacement for Andy.

  3. Stapley should can Tom Irvine and rely on Grant Woods and Chuck Coughlin for advice!

    The Establishment must stick together!!

  4. Come on people, can you say “recall”?

    All around the state, people are laughing at Maricopa.

  5. Funny you mention recall, I heard that an Hispanic lady showed up at the Board of Supervisors meeting this morning and went off on them. She also indicated there is a recall starting. Don’t expect that to make it into the biased mainstream media. They only report opposition at Board of Supervisors’ meetings when it’s against Sheriff Arpaio. (and then it’s always the usual paid ACORN protesters – paid for with our taxpayer money through government grants – hopefully not for much longer!)

  6. Hey guys, where’s the really hot story about Joe and Andy getting smoked by Judge Leonardo? Any comments on that?

    I guess real news doesn’t fall into Hugh Nuze’s bailiwick–just speculation and guesswork?

  7. Is this a mistake? The republic printing something fair? Laurie better watch out, I think she violated the Republics policies on this one. From the rest of us – Good job Laurie Roberts!

  8. Don’t worry Barbara, it’s coming. They didn’t want to give you to much to think about at once.

  9. Hey “babs” er, Glick

    The gist of the Leonardo decision is hardly to your bosses’ benefit!

    Reread it kid!


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