There have been some letters to the editor regarding the Board of Supervisors wanting to tell our Sheriff and County Attorney how to spend RICO funds.
In short – there was no attempt at directing the Sheriff or County Attorney in regards on how to spend RICO funds. By state law, the Board of Supervisors has no voice in the matter whatsoever. We cannot tell the Sheriff or County Attorney where to disburse any funding from RICO. The ultimate decision comes down to the County Attorney who receives a request from the Sheriff’s Office and will either decide whether or not to give the funding.
For some unknown reason, many people were given the mistaken impression that the Board was trying to tell the Sheriff where to spend the money. The ultimate truth comes in the form of a question that Chairman Anthony Smith asked the Sheriff – if his department could direct RICO money to help fund some of their operational needs. That’s all it was – a question, not a directive. Let me emphasize again, the Board of Supervisors has no say where the Sheriff or County Attorney spend their RICO funds.
When I was in the Arizona Legislature, the question was brought up whether or not elected governmental bodies like a Board of Supervisors or City Councils could have any say where RICO funds were spent. That effort was struck down immediately after pressure from law enforcement lobbyists.
I see the benefits of RICO funding across the district, from after-graduation programs to sponsoring little league teams. Yes, RICO funds do help, you will get no argument from me. My passion is for a strong community, where children are given opportunities to grow, learn and play. My Master’s Degree from Arizona State University is in Social Service Administration. As a counselor I have worked closely with children from all walks of life. If there is any question about my desire for a good future of our children in Pinal County, let that be answered from my past work and efforts in the legislature.
What was meant as a simple question on using RICO funds for operational expenditures, has turned into a false impression by some that the Board was trying to tell the Sheriff and County Attorney where to spend that money. Whoever helped to propagate that idea should apologize to all the groups that receive RICO funds.
/s/ Pete Rios
Supervisor, District 1