We recently wrote half-kiddingly (just half) that Andy Thomas' henchwoman Deputy County Attorney Lisa Aubuchon would be on her way to a new gig with Sheriff Joe Arpaio in no time.
Then, late last week, we got word that this failure of a prosecutor was removed as head of the County Attorney's charging bureau to a line job in the homicide unit.
It was a strange move for someone with Aubuchon's pathetic track record, and it was fraught with still-unclear inside-the-office political intrigue.
That happened a few days after Thomas resigned to run for state Attorney General.
What we didn't know until today was that, on April 6, the Sheriff's Office asked county officials to exempt a specific position from the county's current hiring freeze.
The job: Operation Program Manager for the 3511 Towing Program (the number refers to a state statute).
County spokeswoman Cari Gerchik tells us that the job has been open for two years, and that this appears to have been the first attempt by MCSO to fill it.
But, she adds, "I have absolutely no idea whether this has anything to do with Lisa Aubuchon."
Based upon speaking with insiders familiar with the situation, we believe that the MCSO planned to offer Ms. Aubuchon this job if and when things don't work out at the County Attorney's Office.
Check out part of the job desciption for the towing manager. Under "preferred education and/pr experience," the MCSO suggests "a Masters or Doctorate degree from an accredited law school; 3-5 years of supervisory and/or management experience."
So, they need an attorney to be the Operations Program Manager for a damned towing program?
In its April 6 "justification" letter to county budget officials, the MCSO explains that it has only been able to collect 50 percent of the fees involved in processing impounded, abandoned, and unclaimed vehicles (about 4,000 vehicles in 2008 alone).
A "dedicated administrator," the Sheriff's Office claims, would be able to collect more fees, as she (or he) would "be responsible for researching and analyzing the statutes, plus methods to expand the program to include taking over the entire process."
A salary, by the way, isn't mentioned.
Nice try, Joe and Dave (as in Sheriff Arpaio and Chief Deputy David Hendershott), but county officials seem to have headed you boys off at the pass.
Earlier today, deputy budget director Lee Ann Bohn sent a memo to MCSO business operations chief Loretta Barkell denying the request for hiring freeze exemptions in the towing program and for four other positions at the agency.
"This [towing program manager] position has been unfilled since its conversion from an Administrator to an Operation Program Manager in May 2008. From the information submitted, it appears that this position would expand the existing program.
"[Office of Management and Budget] does not support hiring freeze exemptions for these positions at this time, given current uncertainties related to MCSO payroll expenditures. As you will recall, on March 30, 2010, [Deputy County Manager] Sandi Wilson sent a memo to the MCSO citing serious concerns about potentially inappropriate expenditure of restricted money.
"Until these concerns are addressed and any necessary resolution is implemented, OMB cannot support the additional payroll expenses associated with these positions."
Take that, bitches!
So, what will become of Lisa Aubuchon?
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Prosecuting accused murderers?
Can't see it.
We just don't picture this woman doing anything at the County Attorney's Office with more responsibility than being a warm body at boilerplate hearings in, say, Gila Bend, or some such outpost.
We'll just have to see, kiddies, won't we?