Jon Hinz, Alleged Death-Threat Maker, to Stay on Governor's Council


Last week, we told you the bizarre story of how the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities voted to remove one of its members.

Jon Hinz (pictured), the father of a 30-year-old with Down Syndrome, is a former executive director of the Council and a longtime advocate for families dealing with disabilities. Yet the all-volunteer Council voted to oust Hinz for the most spurious of reasons: he'd spoken "in opposition to the Council at public meetings." The Council's then-chairman, Matthew Wangeman, also claimed to a Senate committee that Hinz threatened to kill him more than a year ago, a charge that went unreported at the time and (not coincidentally) has found few believers today.

At the time we first published our column about the situation, we had two unanswered questions: Who has the right to remove someone from the Council, the governor, or the Council itself? And, if it's the governor, how does she feel about Hinz's alleged misbehavior?

Well, it took a few days, but we've got some answers. 

First, the spokeswoman for soon-to-be-departed Governor Janet Napolitano, Jeanine L'Ecuyer, tells us that the Council can't remove members. Only the governor herself can do that.

And, L'Ecuyer adds, "She has no current plans to do that."

Hinz tells us that someone from the governor's office contacted him in the wake of the Council's vote to oust him. "They asked for some clarification," he says. He explained his side of the story, and hasn't heard a word since.

Napolitano, clearly, won't be rocking this particular boat during her last week in office. And we're laying down odds that incoming Governor Jan Brewer won't touch it, either. Hinz is the former chairman of the state Republican party and has tons of friends down at the Legislature. Even if this removal was legit -- which we certainly don't think it is -- no lawmaker in their right mind would want to enforce it.

For another take on the story, be sure to check out Doug MacEachern's column in this Sunday's Republic. MacEachern, we're pleased to report, also defends Hinz. And when you see New Times and Doug MacEachern in agreement on an issue, you know you've got consenus.  

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Sarah Fenske
Contact: Sarah Fenske