Pete Rios, chairman of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, voiced his frustration with the county's embattled sheriff in a recent letter published in local newspapers.
It addresses Babeu's repeated claims -- including a post on his website in March -- that he has balanced his budget despite being about $1 million in the hole.
Rios writes: "As much as he wants to run away from it, Sheriff Paul Babeu does not have a balanced general fund budget (he will likely be over by one million this year). In fact, this will be the second year in a row that he will have exceeded his general fund budget."
Read the rest of the letter:
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As an election year ploy, the Sheriff has started throwing around numbers, making accusations and trying to scare the public in an attempt to turn your attention from the simple fact that he cannot manage the taxpayer's money. His diversion tactic to have you focus on the county courthouse renovations is also intended to take away attention from his mismanagement and legal troubles.
Every Pinal County elected official stuck to their budget this year, except for one--Paul Babeu.
This is a Sheriff who oversaw a reorganization of his department that resulted in salary increases for many at the top of his organization.
Paul Babeu likes to accuse county leaders of not wanting to hire more deputies. But he won't tell you that public safety has not been subject to a hiring freeze and is authorized to fill any budgeted or approved positions. In addition, in this budget cycle the Sheriff's
Office requested a $3.7 million in additional funds over last year's budget--no additional deputy positions were in that request.
When you go to the polls to elect your leaders, you expect them to be able to manage their departments and their budgets. The Sheriff has failed to do both and now he wants to try and blame anyone but himself. He can dance around this issue all he wants, but when the rubber meets the road--the elected official is ultimately in control of their office.
We have worked hard with the Sheriff's Office to get his numbers in order. The taxpayers of Pinal County have bailed him out of his own poor budgeting decisions. But yet, Paul Babeu will write letters, pontificate at the top of his lungs and try to pass the buck. It's time that the Sheriff realizes that he runs his department and not politicize his shortcomings by blaming the Supervisors for his problems.