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Kanefield leaving Governor’s Office for private sector

Joe Kanefield (File photo)

Joe Kanefield (File photo)

After serving as Gov. Jan Brewer’s general counsel since her early days at the Secretary of State’s Office, Joe Kanefield is moving to the private sector.

Kanefield on May 13 will join Phoenix law firm Ballard Spahr, where he will focus his practice on election and campaign finance law, which he became an expert in during his five years working in the Secretary of State’s Office. He said his new job will also keep him active in government relations, public-private partnerships and tax law.

Kanefield, who first entered government service in 1989 as an intern legislative liaison at the Department of Revenue, said he had long planned to move to the private sector. But his plans were delayed when he decided to stay with Brewer after she became governor in 2009.

With the 2011 legislative session over and the Brewer administration at its most stable point since she ascended to the Ninth Floor, Kanefield decided it was time to make the move.

“I hate leaving the governor. She’s been good to me. It’s been a real blast working for her over the years. But, at this point in my career, it’s time for me to go pursue other opportunities,” Kanefield said.

Brewer praised Kanefield, who represented her through a tumultuous first two years that saw the governor sue House Speaker Kirk Adams and former Senate President Bob Burns over a budget dispute.

“He is one of the finest attorneys in the State, and I have been fortunate to have him advise me through some of the most difficult issues facing Arizona,” Brewer said in a written statement. “Joe has been an invaluable member of my executive team. His overall contribution to the success of my administration cannot be measured.”

Joe Sciarrotta, who currently serves as general counsel at the Arizona Department of Administration and chairs the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council, will take Kanefield’s place as Brewer’s counsel. Sciarrotta has also served as general counsel for Allied Waste and Meritage Homes, and worked for the firm Fennemore Craig.

“Mr. Sciarrotta is an expert in the legal issues facing state government,” Brewer said. “His legal acumen, private sector experience and familiarity with state government will be invaluable during these challenging times. He is a talented, energetic and capable attorney who will make an excellent addition to my senior leadership team.”

Kanefield, who worked as an assistant attorney general before joining Brewer, will also take the helm as Arizona State Bar president in June. He was elected to the position last year.

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