By Anthony Smith
For the past several years, it has been my privilege to serve first as the mayor of the City of Maricopa and currently as a Pinal County supervisor. Public service is something that I encourage all citizens to consider and, if it fits their circumstances, they should step up to do it.
Although I applaud Mr. Rich Vitiello as he makes another attempt at public office, the circumstances for his run as my competitor for County Supervisor gives me great concern. Not as a competitor, but as one who is concerned about the blatant conflict of interest being perpetrated by Sheriff Babeu and Mr. Vitiello.
According to the news articles announcing his run for supervisor, it appears Mr. Vitiello has already signaled his intentions to support any budget request the sheriff puts forward, all in the guise of public safety. Public safety is my number one priority as well. When Sheriff Babeu and Mr. Vitiello say they want increased funding for public safety, what they really mean is that their intent is self-serving, as they want more money for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO).
What Mr. Vitiello and the sheriff fail to recognize is that the vast majority of what we do in county government has to do with the health and well-being of our citizens. In fact, at least 75 percent of the functions of county government have a direct impact on public safety. I argue that other functions related to public safety such as safe roads, health immunizations, disease control, building safety, food safety and a host of other public safety functions are vitally important, too.
When we create a county budget, we make sure all critical county services are given a careful review to ensure we are providing the best service to the citizens. The bottom line is that, even in this era of very tight budgets, we have and will continue to do the right thing for the taxpayers.
When voters go to the polls, they need to have the facts before casting their vote. As your county supervisor, I have been steadfast in my efforts to reduce taxes, balance the budget, and restore financial health to our county in a fair and unbiased manner. I believe that should be the preferred alternative to the troublesome alliance established between Sheriff Babeu and Mr. Rich Vitiello.
Anthony Smith is the Pinal County supervisor for District 4.