We thought it was possible the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors had a conflict of interest in picking a new county attorney, with two of the five having been indicted last year.
But the board decided today that it doesn't have a conflict.
Whew... what a relief.
Wade Swanson, legal counsel to the board, wrote in a letter to the state elections director that no conflict would exist even if one or more supervisors were still under active prosecution, which they're not.
Criminal charges against supervisors Mary Rose Wilcox and Don Stapley were dropped last month, mainly because of the heavy-handed, abusive wranglings of Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Click here to read Swanson's letter.
In other county news, the supes named a five-member committee to review applications for a replacement county attorney and to make a recommendation in a couple of weeks.
The supervisors picked familiar names like Clint Bolick of the Goldwater Institute and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith for the committee job.
We've posted the county's news release below, in case you're interested:
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Announces "Citizens Committee" to Review Applications for Maricopa County Attorney Vacancy
Today, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted to name a "Citizens Committee" to review the applications submitted for filling the vacancy of Maricopa County Attorney. Each Supervisor appointed a person to serve on the Committee. The Committee Members are listed below.
Supervisor Max Wilson made the following motion which established the Committee.
"I move we establish a citizen's committee comprised of 5 members, one member appointed by each Supervisor. The Committee will review applications of those who submit for this vacancy in the Office of the County Attorney. The appointee of the Chairman of the Board will be the Chairman of the Committee. As an advisory committee, this Committee will conduct their meetings in accordance with the Arizona Open Meeting Law. The Clerk of the Board will assist with all required postings and agendas."
INSTRUCTIONS TO COMMITTEE:
1. Include some reasons why any candidate is being recommended The Board will hope to receive 3 to 5 names on this report
2. The Board wants to be clear that the Board is not delegating their responsibility for this appointment to the Committee. The Board reserves the right to select from the recommended list or from other applicants.
Commission Member Names
Chairman Don Stapley, District 2
The Honorable Scott Smith
Mayor Scott Smith is in his first term as Mayor of Mesa, Arizona. At the city level, Mayor Smith plans to spend his term in office forming and strengthening a partnership with Mesa residents to "Build a Better Mesa." An original tag line coined during his campaign, Building a Better Mesa includes capitalizing on Mesa's wealth of opportunities. Currently, Mayor Smith serves on many boards and committees.
Professionally, Mayor Smith has worked for both Price Waterhouse and ExecuShare, LTD. He also worked for the University of Phoenix as an accounting and finance instructor. Most recently, Mayor Smith served as President for both Great Western Homes and K. Hovnanian Homes. Mayor Smith earned a degree in Accounting from Brigham Young University, after completing a two-year mission in Bolivia. He continued his studies at Arizona State University earning a Master's Degree in Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate.
Vice Chairman Fulton Brock, District 1
Mr. Clint Bolick
Clint Bolick serves as the director of the Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation at the Goldwater Institute. The Goldwater Institute's Center for Constitutional Litigation is the first of its kind and a new avenue for free-market organizations to advance freedom in the states.
A legal pioneer in a number of areas, Bolick is perhaps best known for his leadership in defending state-based school choice programs. He has argued and won significant cases in both state and federal courts, winning school choice victories in the Supreme Courts of Wisconsin, Ohio, and Arizona, as well as in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Before joining the Goldwater Institute, Bolick was a co-founder and former vice president of the Institute for Justice and former president and general counsel of the Alliance for School Choice.
During the 1980's and 1990's Bolick helped lead the effort to increase judicial scrutiny of racial classifications in areas such as public employment and interracial adoptions. He also designed a legal strategy to restore judicial recognition of economic liberty which resulted in several landmark rulings invalidating regulatory barriers to enterprise.
The recipient of many honors, Bolick was named one of three Lawyers of the Year in 2003 by American Lawyer. In 2006, Bolick was the recipient of a Bradley Prize for excellence in "strengthening American democratic capitalism." His most recent book, David's Hammer, was chosen for the June 2007 Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty. In 2008 he received the Champion of Law and Liberty award from the Legal Times, which honored him for upholding the legal profession's core values and fighting to expand liberties and protect civil rights.
Supervisor Andy Kunasek, District 3
Mr. Stephen Tully
Stephen Tully is Managing Partner of the Phoenix office of Gordon & Rees. Mr. Tully served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2001-2007 and was Majority Leader of the Arizona House from 2005-2007. From 2003-2005 Mr. Tully was Chairman of both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Ethics Committee. Mr. Tully has been actively litigating cases for over 18 years.
Supervisor Max Wilson, District 4
Mr. Jack LaSota
John A. ("Jack") LaSota is a former Arizona Attorney General (1977-1978). He is currently with the firm LaSota & Peters, P.L.C. Jack LaSota is a well-respected member of the Arizona State Bar and has had a distinguished legal career. He has drafted innumerable statutes, including telephonic search warrant and electronic eavesdropping laws, many of which are still on the books. He also spent three years at the Arizona State University College of Law as a faculty member and assistant dean, during which tenure his principal role was to draft and circulate nationwide to over 500 agencies pioneering Model Rules for Law Enforcement. In his nearly four years with the Office of Attorney General, he edited and authored hundreds of attorney general opinions. In the latter role, he reviewed thousands of draft rules for clarity, conciseness, economic impact, and legal authority. He spent six years in the 1980s as an adjunct professor of law at ASU College of Law, teaching State and Local Government.
Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, District 5
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Mr. Salvador Ongaro
Mr. Ongaro's law practice is devoted to the representation of plaintiffs and defendants in business and partnership disputes, securities and investment litigation, and other general civil matters. He also represents plaintiffs in all types of personal injury lawsuits and provides counsel in immigration matters. Mr. Ongaro earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and his Bachelor's Degree at Arizona State University. After graduating from law school, Mr. Ongaro served as a Law Clerk to Judge Eduardo C. Robreno, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Mr. Ongaro is currently President of Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association.
The release goes on to highlight the schedule that the Supervisors outlined last week.