By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Leckie's duties include being the contact between Project SLIM and the governor. According to Symington's "Project SLIM Role Definitions," Leckie is to "insure governor's active involvement in SLIM process by providing timely updates and reports."
Symington, in his Project SLIM press conference last week in Phoenix, said that one of the most serious problems facing state government is that it "hasn't paid the right kind of salaries to keep good people. The time is overdue to correct this problem."
An old friend of Symington's, Leckie served as finance chairman for the developer's campaign, ensuring that the Internal Revenue Service was cut a check to repair gubernatorial confidante Annette Alvarez's tax difficulties, and that a $1,100 campaign contribution from Mr. and Mrs. J. Anthony Vincent (the phony name used by AzScam undercover agent Joseph Stedino) was refunded a few weeks before the AzScam scandal broke.
After the election, Leckie was brought onto the governor's staff, first serving as deputy chief of staff, with almost unlimited authority over internal personnel and budgeting.
In October, after chief of staff Bunny Badertscher was banished to Symington's Tucson office following a labyrinthine debacle that involved the suspension and subsequent reinstatement of the director of the Department of Public Safety, Leckie was promoted to the position of chief operating officer. Here he consolidated his control over the business, financial and administrative matters" of the Governor's Office. According to press reports at the time, Leckie refused to let Chris Herstam, who succeeded Badertscher as chief of staff, review the way money was being spent in the office.
In January, Symington announced that ten top staff members were receiving raises of up to $10,000 annually. When the raises were met with a firestorm of controversy, the governor revoked the raises and again shook up his staff this time giving Herstam control of the office budget.
Less than two weeks later, the governor announced that Leckie had overspent the office's budget by $270,000 in less than a year. Three staffers were laid off, five were transferred to other departments within the government and the rest were forced to take 11.2 percent pay cuts. Leckie's pay was cut to $85,000 and he was appointed "co-director" of Project SLIM-which already had a director being paid more than $80,000.