Maricopa County Supervisors Fire Back After Arpaio Suggests They've Been Uncooperative


The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors today denied claims that the county has been "uncooperative" in a request for public records and employer sanctions investigation by Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- the latest squabble in the county's internecine warfare.

We'd be able to tell you exactly what Arpaio was bitching about, but he still refuses to send us his news releases or scheduled news conferences. You can glean as much as we did from this response letter by the Supervisors just e-mailed to the news media:

February 13, 2009


                  Statement from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors  

                               On Sheriff Arpaio's News Conference



Frankly, we are surprised to learn of today's sheriff's news conference because no one from his office has contacted a single member of the Board of Supervisors to suggest that he was unhappy with our cooperation.


As far as the Jan. 30 public records request for e-mails of 36 Maricopa County employees, there is every intention of complying with that request. The information is being collected and will, in due course, be provided. That is our approach to all public records requests.


The county manager has recently received at least 20 separate public records requests from the sheriff and the county attorney, several of them very broad and involving thousands of pages, and most of them were made since Dec. 31. The Jan. 30 request, for example, did not provide any subject or any time frame. Nor did it place any time limit on when the information could be delivered.


Any suggestion that the board or county management is uncooperative is simply false, without a scintilla of substantiation.


Again, on the issue of H.M.I. Landscaping, we are surprised to hear of the sheriff's concerns. We at Maricopa County have already cooperated with the sheriff's investigation. Several members of two departments have already been interviewed by sheriff's detectives. Perhaps other county employees will also be interviewed. There is nothing to hide here.


Remember, these workers were not county employees but employees of a private firm. It is the responsibility of the private contractor to comply with all state and federal laws. That is inherent in the contracts with all county vendors. We take these issues very seriously and currently reviewing this case and making sure this firm is complying with the law.  

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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.