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Petersen Appeals Unpaid Suspension From Assessor Job

Paul Petersen
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
file | agency
Paul Petersen in 2019.

Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen is appealing a four-month, unpaid suspension, but the governing body that put Petersen on ice has to figure out what the review process will be first.

Petersen faces dozens of charges in connection with allegations that he ran an illegal adoption ring involving pregnant women from the Marshall Islands. He’s pleaded not guilty in Arizona and Arkansas, and is scheduled to appear Nov. 15 in a Utah court.

A three-page letter sent to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors asks for a hearing and reconsideration of the decision to suspend Petersen. The letter says when Petersen was jailed, he spoke twice with his chief deputy about projects at the Assessor’s Office. The letter also says the state law from which the board drew power to suspend Petersen does not apply because the County Assessor’s job is ruled by the Constitution.

Maricopa County communications Director Fields Mosely released a prepared statement.

"The Board of Supervisors respects Assessor Petersen’s decision to appeal his suspension based on ARS 11-664," the statement says. "The Board will schedule and notice a meeting in the near future regarding a hearing process.  Board members remain committed to following the law and doing what is in the best interest of the Assessor’s Office and the 4.5 million residents of Maricopa County."

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Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.