Vote on Babeu bid to hire, fire leaders put off

By Lindsey Collom – Jan. 9, 2013 02:35 PM

The Arizona Republic

Pinal County supervisors said they need more information before voting on a plan by Sheriff Paul Babeu to increase his hiring and firing authority by reclassifying lieutenants and captains as at-will employees.

Babeu had asked the board to approve his plan Wednesday; supervisors decided to delay the vote until February.

Babeu’s controversial plan has already prompted the early retirement of a captain, who says he was targeted for a pay cut and dismissal if the plan were approved and whose exit was punctuated by a scathing e-mail accusing the sheriff of a power grab designed to make room for political appointees and loyalists.

If supervisors approve the plan, eight lieutenants in patrol and investigations, seven lieutenants in the jail and one director would lose the right to appeal any disciplinary actions before the county’s merit board. The captain also would have lost that privilege.

At-will employees can be terminated at any time without cause.

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