Records Roil Sheriff’S Race

Stubbs, Van Buskirk accumulate reprimands

Darrell Stubbs

Darrell Stubbs Photo by Andy Towle. |

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Personnel records reveal a sometimes-rocky past for Republican Gila County sheriff candidate Darrell Stubbs. Supervisors unhappy with his work passed him back and forth, he faced discipline for allegedly lying on a time sheet and repeated complaints about being rude to fellow workers and constituents.

The Roundup reviewed the personnel files for the four sheriff candidates from the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.

Democratic candidate Ray Van Buskirk was the only other one formally investigated. Supervisors put Van Buskirk on a six-month probation for being discourteous to a citizen during a call.

All of the candidates’ files, including those for Stubbs, Van Buskirk, Democrat Craig Jones and Republican Adam Shepherd, had numerous thank you cards, accolades and certifications.

Stubbs and Shepherd worked the longest with the office and their files were stuffed with years of training records, performance evaluations and atta-boys.

Jones had the shortest stint with the sheriff’s office and therefore had the fewest records.

Shepherd, who started with the office in 1984, a year after Stubbs, had only positive comments throughout his file.

Stubbs’ file, however, was riddled with complaints and negative reviews.

Stubbs faced discipline for lying on a time sheet in 2005, being discourteous at a fishing event at Roosevelt Lake in July 2007, and later that same month using abusive language with a supervisor.

The Roundup requested an interview with Stubbs to discuss his record, he did not respond.

Most recently, the Miami Police Department looked into whether Stubbs was campaigning for sheriff while working as code enforcement officer for the town, said Daniel Rodriquez, Miami Police chief.

A preliminary investigation revealed Stubbs had likely done nothing wrong. The inquiry ended, however, before an outside agency got involved because Stubbs left to campaign full time, Rodriquez said.

Stubbs is still a reserve officer with the Miami Police Department. He does not cover any shifts currently.

Overall, Rodriquez said Stubbs was well liked by the public and he never had any major hiccups in his year with the department.

At the sheriff’s department, thank you cards from the public in Stubbs’ file paint a picture of a man also well liked.

But several damaging incidents also showed up in the file.

When Stubbs first started with the jail in 1983, his sergeant told then Gila County Sheriff Lyman Peace that Stubbs had been insubordinate. Peace extended Stubbs’ six-month new-hire probationary period and threatened to terminate him.

“Should Mr. Stubbs’ performance remain at a substandard level at the end of this extension, termination will automatically begin,” Peace wrote.

In 1989, sheriff’s office Capt. Glen Robbs, area commander at the Hayden substation, wrote he had become frustrated working with Stubbs.

“He always wanted to argue and tell me how they did it in Globe and Payson,” he wrote.

Later, Robbs asked then Gila County Sheriff Joe Rodriquez to return Stubbs “to whatever duty he was performing before he came to work for me.”

Stubbs was transferred back to a jail position in the Payson office.

Things quieted down in Stubbs’ file until 2004.

At the time, Stubbs worked as a school resource and patrol officer.

Sheriff John Armer reprimanded Stubbs after a detective found he had falsified his time card several days in October 2004.

Stubbs said that although he had failed to check in with dispatch on Oct. 11 and 12, he had committed no misconduct and had actually worked both days.

Stubbs got into more trouble during the Fishing with Attitude event at Roosevelt Lake in April 2007.

Administrative Assistant Lu DuBois wrote that he witnessed Stubbs rudely speak with two men that had driven into a restricted area.

“Deputy Stubbs projected an attitude unbecoming on (an) officer from the very beginning of the conversation,” he wrote. “At no time did I observe any belligerence or combativeness from the two men, yet Deputy Stubbs confronted them in a rude fashion.”

“The bottom line is Deputy Stubbs was disrespectful to the public, unprofessional in his demeanor and did not represent the sheriff’s office in a positive manner,” DuBois said.

At the same event, other county employees described Stubbs contact with them as “belligerent, bullish and rude.” One deputy said Stubbs had acted in a “very” unprofessional manner that would bring discredit to the office if observed by the public.

Stubbs was reprimanded for his actions.

It should be noted that one sergeant praised Stubbs’ work at the event when a storm blew in.

A later event would prompt supervisors to suspend Stubbs.

On June 5, 2007, Stubbs requested a meeting with Lt. Tim Scott and Sgt. John France. During that meeting, Stubbs allegedly called France a liar and used profanity in describing him. Stubbs was suspended without pay for one day for his use of abusive and disrespectful language.

Several other incidents through the year prompted supervisors to document their displeasure with Stubbs’ actions, including allegedly ignoring the chain of command.

Van Buskirk’s file

Stubbs is not the only candidate with a scuff in his record.

The sheriff’s office also formally investigated Van Buskirk for misconduct on Dec. 13, 2007.

The investigation found Van Buskirk acted unprofessionally when responding to a 911 hang up call.

Van Buskirk reportedly stormed into a Globe home without permission from the owner, cursed at the homeowner in front of his grandchildren and then searched the home without a warrant.

Van Buskirk verbally put the homeowner under arrest three times, but never charged him with any crime, according to sheriff records.

Van Buskirk was put on leave for more than a month and on probation six months.

Neither Shepherd, who worked for the sheriff’s office for 27 years, nor Jones had any negative incidents documented in their files.

All of the men had thank you cards from residents.

Comments

Pat Randall 1 year, 8 months ago

After reading the above newspaper article please go to the Roundup Blog. Under Local Politics read Gila County Sheriffs Election, 1st post. Thank you very much !

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