County Council considers acting county attorney to fill job permanently

Acting County Attorney John Markovs told the County Council on Tuesday that if he were appointed to fill the job permanently, he would focus on communication, the retention and hiring of exceptional lawyers, and supporting the priorities of the council.

“[One of my priorities] is to maintain a high level of communication with the County Council, and early communication … . We need to increase our communication. I made an effort this year of sending over a guide whenever anything happens in a court case or anything controversial,” Markovs said. “My second priority is I want to ensure the county attorney’s office continues to retain exceptional lawyers and hire exceptional lawyers and staff.”

Markovs, who had been nominated by County Executive Marc Elrich for the permanent post, faced questions from council members about his experience and how he would respond to different situations. Markovs was deputy county attorney when he was appointed by Elrich to serve as acting county attorney in February after the retirement of Marc Hansen, who had served as county attorney for 12 years.

County Chief Administrative Officer Rich Madeleno said Markovs is “the right person to be the county attorney right now” because while in his current role, he has served as the county government’s key representative “in a series of our highest profile, most controversial and most consequential cases.”

According to Madeleno, those cases include negotiations concerning the proposed mixed-use development known as Viva White Oak in the East County and serving as the liaison between the county attorney’s office and the state and federal governments in the embezzlement case involving Byung II “Peter” Bang, the former chief operating officer of the county’s now-defunct Department of Economic Development.

Council Vice President Evan Glass asked how the Markovs would respond to potentially high-profile litigation.


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Electing the Maricopa County attorney is a big deal. Look at the dudes we’ve had in office

Over the next few months, we will be selecting a new Maricopa County attorney. The job entails far more than just prosecuting people who are suspected of committing crimes.

The job description of the county attorney according to the Arizona Revised Statutes is almost 700 words long. The Maricopa County attorney is the lawyer for the county who provides services to 5 million residents, 27 communities, 70 county departments with a budget totaling $4.5 billion. The county attorney has 1,000 employees, including some 400 lawyers.

We need to look seriously at who wants to run the County Attorney’s Office, who can represent county government, prosecute crimes honestly and efficiently and fix an office that’s been struggling since now disbarred County Attorney Andrew Thomas was elected in 2004.

Thomas, a novice lawyer, talked tough and climbed into political bed with then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio to profile and target immigrants they believed were in Maricopa County without proper documents. They also targeted elected official considered to be political enemies, including county supervisors and sitting Superior Court judges.

Thomas was finally attorney-andrew-thomas-disbarred-ethics-violations” data-ylk=”slk:disbarred for ethical violations and abusing the office” class=”link “disbarred for ethical violations and abusing the office, but only after he had resigned to run for state attorney general. Arpaio was found in contempt by a federal judge and lost his reelection bid. Their conduct caused in multiple lawsuits that cost the county millions and the sheriff’s office under the strict supervision of the federal courts.

Thomas was followed by Bill Montgomery, another tough talker with limited legal experience who reportedly montgomery-spent-400-k-building-arsenal-county-attorneys-office/3657590001/” data-ylk=”slk:spent $400,000 arming his own police force” class=”link “spent $400,000 arming his own police force within the County Attorney’s Office. Montgomery was also cozy with Arpaio who endorsed Montgomery after Thomas resigned.

Montgomery also became

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