| News |

Arpaio Files Lawsuit Vs. County on Public Records Issue; County Says Sheriff's Request Costs $911,000

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Taxpayers will shell out $911,000 for a public records request for Maricopa County documents that was filed last year by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office, a county official says.

Yet in a report tonight by Channel 5 news (KPHO-TV), Arpaio says the public may never find out the reason for the request. He confirms only that it involves a criminal investigation.

C'mon -- is there any question that if Arpaio had anything solid at all, he'd be talking about it?

Remember the Goddard investigation? Fact is, the public has a right to know what Arpaio hopes to find in that expensive records request. There's no question that his office's similar fishing expedition through records at the City of Phoenix was a complete waste of county resources.

Richard De Uriarte, spokesperson for Maricopa County leadership, states in an e-mail this evening that the sheriff has filed a lawsuit to block the county from implementing a new form that restricts the way county employees can file records requests. De Uriarte writes in a response to the filing that "this is ridiculous." Full text below:

First of all, the county is complying with the sheriff's innumerable public records requests, unfortunately which involved reviewing and producing hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of pages and untold expense.

In fact, in order to comply with one open-ended request, the board is researching the purchase of a new software program to pull e-mails faster. Another costly public expenditure for an information request that offered no beginning date, no ending date and no subject matter. OMB estimated complying with one single request would cost taxpayers $911,000.

Indeed, the reason the county manager's office developed the alternative information form was to handle these requests in a more efficient manner. At the time (last winter), county administration received an avalanche of public information requests from the sheriff and county attorney. Requests that struck many hard-working employees as little more than harassment, intimidation and busy work.

As for this latest lawsuit, rather than calling someone at the county and asking, the sheriff has filed another lawsuit. Another waste of taxpayers' money when we are complying.

Sure, it would be great if the dissemination of public records was streamlined somehow with the new software and processes De Uriarte speaks of. But, ironically, it's the sheriff's office public records system that needs the most streamlining.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.