FLORENCE — At its last regular meeting of 2021 on Wednesday, Dec. 15, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors elected new officers for the new year.
Supervisor Jeff McClure, R-Eagle Crest Ranch, was elected chairman and Supervisor Jeff Serdy, R-Apache Junction, was elected vice chairman.
Also Wednesday, the board congratulated several Pinal County employees on their work anniversaries. Ina Cook, judicial administrative specialist in Superior Court; Cheryl K. Lira Castro, deputy recording supervisor in the Recorder’s Office; Edward L. Cunningham Jr., safety coordinator in Public Works; and Ray Garcia, highway superintendent, all have 25 years with Pinal County.
Alyssa I. Romero, deputy clerk in Superior Court; Adriana Carrasco, probation officer; and Ginger D. Guyton, Copper Corridor Justice Court clerk, all have 20 years with Pinal County.
Call to the public
Greg Mahoney of Oracle said the board voted to take legal action on Aug. 25 against an illegal trailer in his neighborhood, but the issue remains. “Who is responsible for enforcement and when will it finally happen?” Mahoney asked.
Tom Bean of Casa Grande commented on the county’s rules for invocations at the start of board meetings. In the past five years, the majority of the clergy offering the prayer are evangelical, and “nearly all could be called Christian,” Bean told the board. Bean urged the board to be more inclusive of clergy from a variety of churches, synagogues and temples.
“I do hope you will delete the current chaplain who gives about 80% of the invocations,” Bean continued. “His invocations have become close to sermonizing to his flock.” Bean said any invocation can be divisive and disturbing to many.
Dave Coward of Gold Canyon said a federal report on Dec. 14 shows a decline in the average number of new COVID cases in Pinal County. But because of the high spread, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that even vaccinated people continue to wear masks in Pinal. If present trends continue, Pinal County could see 4,000 residents die from COVID, Coward said.
“This is a public health issue, not an ideological freedom vs. tyranny issue,” Coward said.
Barry McCain of Arizona City said those who don’t attend to their personal hygiene will die. “It’s common sense. … and it’s not your fault.” McCain said he’s 67 because he knows how to take care of his health.
Roberto Reveles asked for a public forum to discuss “the critical issues that are driving us apart.” He said he doesn’t always agree with all the supervisors, “but I want you to be the best you can be in public service.” He urged the board to fight for democracy over autocracy.
In other business:
- Sitting as the Pinal Public Health Services District board, the supervisors approved by a 3-2 vote a $6.2 million grant from the Arizona Department of Health Services for enhanced COVID testing and related services. Serdy and Kevin Cavanaugh, R-Coolidge, voted no.
- The board approved an agreement with the Pinal County Regional Transportation Authority to allow for Pinal County to be reimbursed for the PRTA’s expenses, which now total $1,726,031. The contract doesn’t take effect unless the Arizona Supreme Court validates the half-cent sales tax that is to fund the PRTA.
- The board approved a request by Pinal County Recorder Virginia Ross to hire a new employee to oversee compliance and adherence to state and federal laws and regulations, election manual policies and procedures, and other matters affecting early voting and voter registration.
The board approved a request from Pinal Superior Court Clerk Rebecca Padilla to create two new job classifications in response to the county’s human resources compensation market study.