By Anthony Smith
In my previous campaigns, I’ve focused on positive messages and sharing my detailed plans for the future. Unfortunately, some candidates focus on half-truths and inaccuracies, or are just guilty of poor research. Regardless of the motives, I am writing this opinion piece to correct recent statements my opponent made about my record.
Mr. Vitiello says: On Smith’s watch we saw a medical marijuana distribution center placed in his district over the objections of his constituents. He voted for it. Did he look to see if the person at the end of that business chain is a convicted criminal wanting to get a license to distribute pot and keep the cash?
FACT: A medical marijuana distribution center does not exist in Supervisor’s District 4 or anywhere in Pinal County. I’m at a loss for a better explanation.
On a serious note, if Mr. Vitiello knows that a convicted criminal is associated with a medical marijuana facility, I urge him to report this immediately to the Attorney General’s office.
Mr. Vitiello says: Smith accepted a $1,250 campaign contribution from another medical marijuana dispensary applicant in April 2015. A short time later, he voted to approve that facility just outside the Florence city limits.
FACT: The vote for this medical marijuana dispensary outside Florence was on June 24, 2015. For this vote I was out of town on vacation and not present at the meeting. Since I didn’t even participate in the vote, Mr. Vitiello’s accusation that a campaign contribution influenced my vote is unfounded.
Mr. Vitiello says: He OK’ed an open grow marijuana farm in the unincorporated area outside of Casa Grande.
FACT: Simply put, I voted against creating this medical marijuana grow facility and dispensary. Also the application for the medical marijuana facility was for an enclosed facility and not an open grow facility.
Mr. Vitiello says: He gave his staff a 28 percent pay raise against county personnel policies.
FACT: The county staffing system has been broken for years. In 2013 the Board of Supervisors ordered a study to identify deficiencies in our staffing system. The study has been completed, and identified numerous deficiencies including the fact that many jobs are under-paid and some are over-paid.
After completing my first year, I determined that my assistant was doing work far beyond what was described in the job description. The completed Human Resources staffing study set the pay rate for the Assistant to the Board of Supervisors. My assistant’s salary is in the bottom 25 percent of this range. Additionally, her first year’s pay was significantly below the study’s assessed starting pay for this position. According to the results of the Human Resources study, my action back in 2014 was justified.
As long as I am county supervisor, I will continue in my quest to fix the county’s broken systems at every opportunity. Let’s keep our campaigns focused on what we can do to improve our communities and county and not be purveyors of misinformation and half-truths.
Anthony Smith is the Pinal County supervisor for District 4 and a resident of Maricopa. He is challenged by Rich Vitiello, also of Maricopa, in this year’s election.