Hendershott Defends Son on Overtime Issue; Also Denies He Ever Gave Up Computer Password

Since we're on speaking terms (for the time being) with Dave Hendershott, chief deputy of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Joe Arpaio's right-hand man, we've got a few other things to relate to you. From interviews last night and today with him, we learned:

*Hendershott is ticked off that a leaked county report we obtained about overtime hours mentions his son. As the draft report states, the son of the chief deputy recorded 936 hours of overtime from February to November 2007, which means nine months of 11-hour days, assuming a six-day work week. (Commenter TommyC: You based your calculations on seven months).

From Hendershott's point of view, county officials that may have included the county manager, Board of Supervisors and the Office of Management and Budget retaliated against him by attacking his family.

"I think it's absolutely disgusting," Hendershott says.

The county draft report mentions that Hendershott's son had more than twice the amount of overtime of anyone at the sheriff's office with his job title. Yet Hendershott says that's seriously misleading, since only three people in his agency share the title of computer forensic specialist.

He also says that his son, also named Dave Hendershott, was only the 69th highest overtime getter in the 2007-2008 fiscal year, and the 103rd highest in the most recent fiscal year. He says he'll send New Times documents that prove what he's talking about.

Hendershott says his son is a computer expert and a "good man."

"He puts people who view kiddie porn away; he puts drug dealers away," Hendershott says.

The section on Hendershott's son and the possibility of nepotism-related overtime assignments was not included in the final draft, which was obtained by the Arizona Republic.

*Hendershott tells us that, contrary to published reports, he never gave up the password to a disputed computer system.

"We never released the password, even to the two technicians and vendors," he says. "We granted the guys access on a Sudo system."

According to the Sudo Web site, the system allows an electronic delegation of authority for sensitive adminstrative functions.

Judge Joseph Heilman, who had threatened to hold Hendershott in contempt of court last week if he didn't divulge the password, was satisfied with the arrangement, Hendershott says.

An anonymous commenter on our recent blog post about the password (we don't know if it was Hendershott or just some computer-savvy bloke) mentions the same thing: people should look at the minute entries of the Court. The Sheriff did *not* give out the master password...he provided 'audited access'...big difference. The specific process is called 'sudo' for you techies. Anyway...I hate to tell all you naysayers out there, but the Sheriff got what he wanted and more. Sorry...try again.

The Clerk of the Court's office hasn't published the minute entry online yet -- we'll put a link to them on this post when the entry is available.

*The sheriff's office will soon file a lawsuit to have Smith and deputy county manager Sandi Wilson removed from their positions and have a judge take control of county administration.

*David Smith, county manager, has a pattern of "sucking all the money" out of programs he wants to take over, Hendershott says. That's the case with the county computer system that includes a portal for law officers to access national crime and warrant information databases, he says.

We're not going to delve into that one. Smith and Hendershott have been fighting for months over the subject of budgets, the computer system and other issues. Multiple lawyers on both sides of the aisle (all paid for by taxpayers) have made these battles about as clear as caliche.

*Two county employees perjured themselves in last week's hearing on the computer system, Hendershott claims. He wouldn't name them or go into detail.

*Hendershott has been writing letters to the State Bar of Arizona, trying to launch a bar complaint against David Smith, the county manager. He claims Smith has been making legal decisions in one of the county-sheriff's office lawsuits, though Smith isn't a bar-certified lawyer in Arizona. Hendershott says Smith's a member of the New York State Bar Association -- and that he's trying to file a complaint against Smith in that state, too.

In an August 18 letter to the Arizona bar association, Hendershott claims "Mr. Smith's conduct is depriving Sheriff Arpaio and this office of independent, fair and objective professional judgment of their lawyers."

It appears that the state bar isn't yet taking the bait.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.