Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen suspended following adoption scheme allegations

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors/screengrab

By Jessica Boehm | Arizona Republic 

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to suspend County Assessor Paul Petersen, who faces criminal charges in three states related to his private-sector job as an adoption attorney. 

The board’s decision comes after weeks of closed-door deliberations about whether the board has the legal authority to discipline Petersen. 

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, state law does give the board authority to suspend the assessor for up to 120 days for “neglect of duty.” The supervisors said they believe Petersen’s absence from office qualifies as neglect of duty. 

He’s been in custody since Oct 8. 

Additionally, county auditors found documents related to Petersen’s adoption practice on his county laptop, officials confirmed last week. Chairman Bill Gates ordered an audit into whether Petersen used public resources for his private-sector job following Petersen’s arrest.

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