The final tally was 18-11.
?SB1411 would limit counties’ boards of supervisors to granting the money, but not spelling out the uses, for budgets for other elected county officials, such as sheriffs. For larger counties, those budgets would be in lump sums, the bill said.
Once that money is appropriated, the bill would have given the elected officials wide latitude in how to handle their budgets.
In defense of his measure, Pearce said the bill doesn’t take away a board’s authority to approve a budget. But once the money is appropriated, he argued, supervisors should steer clear of interfering with other elected officials’ decisions as to how to spend their budget.
“It allows them to decide what their priorities are once (their) budget is agreed upon,” Pearce said. “This is about respect for our constitutional officers, to allow them to do their statutory and constitutional duties.”
Critics said the bill would alter checks and balances in the county by stripping a board of the oversight it has over the budgeting process.
It’s hard to separate the bill from what happened in the state’s largest county.
In Maricopa County, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the board of supervisors have been feuding over a $465,000 inmate-transport bus the sheriff purchased.
The sheriff’s office bought the bus during a 2008 countywide freeze on major purchases. It was purchased with the Jail Enhancement Fund, which receives its money from court fees.
In response, the board refused to license the bus over concerns about how it was bought, forcing Arpaio to keep it parked.
The custom-made bus was damaged in last October’s hailstorm.