Supervisor Chase comments on RICO fund debate -

Supervisor Chase comments on RICO fund debate

Supervisor Chase comments on RICO fund debate

Below you will find a transcript of remarks from Pinal County Supervisor Cheryl Chase, read at the May 28th Pinal County Board of Supervisors meeting, in response to the use of RICO funds by the Pinal County Sheriff's Office and Pinal County Attorney's Office.

It is regrettable that what can be described as courtroom style maneuvers were employed this morning instead of open and honest dialogue regarding RICO funds and recipients. Unlike a courtroom, where there are winners and losers, the BOS seeks collaboration and an opportunity for a win-win solution.

Instead of seeking sound bytes and spotlights, we should be seeking solutions. Mutually beneficial solutions that not only make the best use of every taxpayer dollar but also have the fiscal health of the entire county in mind.

By attempting to paint the Board as less than compassionate about worthy and necessary community programs - an atmosphere that was driven by the letters sent by Mr. Voyles - is the opposite of fostering an atmosphere of mature solution-driven dialogue. The citizens of Pinal County expect their elected leaders to work together, to maintain transparency…and their expectations should be honored.

That was the intention of the Board when all departments were called to task when putting their budgets together….for the good of the County and for our sustained fiscal health.

In the document provided by the Department of Justice entitled “Guidelines for Equitable Sharing for State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies,” there are - beginning on page 16 – over 13 major categories and several sub-categories that are permissible uses of RICO funding, one of which is Support of community-based programs, which are to make up 15% of the total monies received.

As I have said on several other occasions, and will repeat today, the safety of the front line staff – the deputies and sworn, should be the uppermost priority for the Sheriff. I hope my constituents look carefully at the “Guidelines” and understand that all the Board is asking for is the same priority of commitment from the Office of the Sheriff as is being asked of the Board.

When we speak of a moral obligation, it is important for the County Attorney and the Sheriff to understand the moral obligation of the Board of Supervisors. Our collective obligation is to ensure the fiscal health of the entire county – to make sure that reserves are not depleted – and to honor our promise of no tax increases. It is vitally important for our constituents to know that unless spending is held tightly accountable, there will be nowhere to turn other than to withdraw from the rainy day fund or to increase taxes.

Therefore, again, I urge the Sheriff – who garners 63% of all monies this Board can offer – to work in a spirit of collaboration. The public is weary of grandstanding and stand-offs. As this fiscal year ends, it is with a sense of urgency that I suggest that win-win solutions are our focus.

We must work together because we should be on the same side – and that is what is best for Pinal County as a whole.