By now, most people in the Valley of the Sun have heard about how the Maricopa County Attorney successfully sought a 118-count indictment against Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley. The supes turned around and hired an outside attorney to seek an opinion on whether the prosecution of a county supervisor creates a conflict of interest with the County Attorney's office.
As could be expected, County Attorney Andrew Thomas immediately criticized the move, saying that the only attorney that the supes could consult on any issue is the County Attorney. He says that hiring outside attorneys is illegal.
Such concern for legal niceties (or even for responsible use of taxpayer money) is laudable.
Too bad such concerns are almost unheard-of from our County Attorney.
From the Phoenix New Times (June 15, 2006) -
Maricopa County paid more than $326,000 over the past year to a private law firm that employed Andrew Thomas immediately before his election as county attorney.Yes, Thomas is criticizing the supes for hiring outside counsel when he has spent hundreds of thousands on that exact thing.
The county payments to Wilenchik & Bartness began in May 2005, four months after Thomas took office in January 2005, county records reveal.
As such, for this week's brazen exercise in the "do as I say, not as I do" flip-flopping strain of hypocrisy dressed up as public policy, Andrew Thomas reels in the latest John Sydney McCain Memorial Crappie Award.
...A couple of quick points - on this one, I *really* hope both sides lose - Thomas and his saddle partner, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, are prime examples of political bullies, but the supes aren't much better. They turned from being elected public servants into being elected enablers.
Also, I originally thought that Thomas did Stapley a favor by holding off on the indictment until after the election season. However, a growing possiblity is that Thomas is using the indictment to keep the other supes away from his and Arpaio's offices and budgets, especially during this period of dwindling county revenues.