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Cash seizures quadruple on Arizona-Mexico border

Seizures of money bound mostly for Mexico's violent drug cartels more than quadrupled this year on the Arizona border, and government officials are crediting beefed-up screening at checkpoints. Inspectors intercepted $1.1 million heading into Mexico in fiscal 2008. This year, they netted $4.9 million.

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Spokesman for 4 Phoenix mayors retiring

A spokesman for four different Phoenix mayors is retiring on Dec. 31 after 19 years on the job. Scott Phelps says he volunteered to leave the office of Mayor Phil Gordon in anticipation of further budget cuts in Phoenix, where more than 1,000 positions have been eliminated in the past year.

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Lawyer likens Thomas to late Sen. McCarthy

The lawyer for an embroiled Phoenix-area politician on Dec. 15 accused Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas of investigating his client for political and personal motives. Colin Campbell, who represents Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, is questioning why Thomas's office filed 36 charges against Wilcox, and said "there are elementary mistakes of fact in the allegations that suggest carelessness, rush to judgment, and improper motives."

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Appointments for key posts in ADEQ

Several appointments have been announced for senior positions in the state's environmental protection agency. Department of Environmental Quality Director Ben Grumbles on Dec. 14 announced that administrative counsel Henry Darwin is the new deputy director. Darwin replaces Patrick Cunningham, who is leaving for a senior post in the U.S. Attorney's Office for Arizona.

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Phoenix-area cities paying retention bonuses

Cities in metro Phoenix are paying millions of dollars in retention bonuses as they lay off employees, cut pay or raise taxes amid the recession. Compensation experts question the wisdom of retention bonuses as the state's 9.3 percent unemployment rate has drastically reduced turnover. Cities defend the bonuses as an incentive to retain employees and make up for stagnant wages.

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