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County supervisors may suspend Paul Petersen after adoption scheme arrest

Posted by   /  October 19, 2019  /  No Comments

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By Jessica Boehm and Robert Anglen | Arizona Republic 

Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen has not resigned from his elected post, despite indictments in three states related to an alleged international adoption scheme. 

But the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors may be inching closer to finding a way to forcibly remove him from the position — if only temporarily. 

The board met in executive session to weigh its legal options for nearly three hours on Friday afternoon. 

The Board of Supervisors is the central governing body for the county, but it typically cannot remove other elected officials, like Petersen, from office. However, there are a handful of state laws that the board could utilize to work around their limitations.

Board Chairman Bill Gates danced around questions about whether the board would use one of those laws to remove or suspend Petersen but did confirm “there is an Arizona statute that provides the Board of Supervisors the authority to suspend the treasurer and the assessor. That’s a fact.”

That state law says the board can remove the assessor or treasurer for “defalcation or neglect of duty.” The suspension can only last 120 days, however. 

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