By Brian Wright | Casa Grande Dispatch
Multiple public records requests from a top aide at the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office that have resulted in the county spending “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in legal fees have led the Board of Supervisors to demand an answer from Sheriff Paul Babeu.
Tim Gaffney, Sheriff’s Office director of administration, has filed eight separate public records requests with Pinal County in the past 15 months, most concerning former County Manager Fritz Behring and supervisors’ Chairman Steve Miller.
Gaffney filed a lawsuit against Behring and the county in May, claiming he suffered defamation, intentional injury and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other things.
Behring resigned from his job with Pinal County at the end of May to become city manager in Scottsdale.
On Wednesday, supervisors voted 4-1 to sign and send a letter to Babeu asking him if Gaffney made the requests in his capacity as a Sheriff’s Office employee on county time or as a private individual.
Babeu was not at Wednesday’s meeting, but he saw a draft of the letter, which could be viewed as an attachment to the meeting agenda posted on the county website.
He immediately sent an email to the board in response to the letter.
“Mr. Tim Gaffney, director of administration for PCSO was acting at my direction in the request of public records from Pinal County,” Babeu wrote.