Time For County Supervisors To Clean House

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During the past year, six Gila County employees including four law and detention officers with the sheriff's department have been arrested, fired, disciplined and/or forced to resign their positions for lying, stealing or both.

One incident of this nature within 12 months would be too many, but half a dozen, or more, is unacceptable.

Former Gila County Assistant Finance Director Linda Noriega was fired last December and convicted earlier this year for embezzling nearly $12,000 from the county.

Former deputy John Holmes pleaded guilty to helping his wife Linda Holmes steal $17,450 from the U.S. Forest Service.

Detention officer William "Tom" Brunson, who is a son-in-law of Gila County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Byron Mills, resigned while he was being investigated for stealing nearly $2,000 in bond money and prisoners' cash.

Byron Mills was caught making false statements to the Arizona Republic regarding a high-profile murder case that had ties to the Rim country.

Former deputy Larry Marrs resigned last month when his superiors discovered he had lied about his college, military and law enforcement background on his job application, arrest reports and on the witness stand.

Chief Probation Officer Rocky Casteneda resigned under charges that he had stolen nearly $15,000 to support an alleged gambling problem. That case is expected to conclude during a settlement hearing Aug. 18.

The latest incident, which is still under investigation, is the possible theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the county's public fiduciary office.

Are we missing anyone?

We think it's high time the Gila County Board of Supervisors developed a comprehensive plan to clean house and stop our public servants from lying to the people they serve and stealing the taxpayers' money.

We can't afford to spend another year like this.

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