"Hos" Hoskins, County Treasurer, Preparing to Sue County Again on Budget Issue
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors can tell an elected county official how much money to spend each year, but aren't supposed to dictate how the money is spent.
Yet that's exactly what the supervisors are trying to do at the County Treasurer's office, says the treasurer, Charles "Hos" Hoskins.
To stop them from "meddling," Hoskins tells New Times he's preparing a lawsuit he expects to file in a couple of weeks.
It will be the second time Hoskins, who has been treasurer since the beginning of 2008, has sued the county. The first lawsuit, still pending, argues that the county supervisors had no right to take away the treasurer's IT department this year.
As the Arizona Republic reported in September, the county supervisors -- acting on an opinion from the county attorney's office -- moved the treasurer's IT department to the county's Office of Enterprise Technology in an effort to centralize the county's computing work.
Hoskins claims this puts him at financial risk if one of the Enterprise Technology workers misuses the county's money -- money the treasurer's office is responsible for overseeing. He says several attorneys he knows -- he wouldn't name them -- suggested that he sue the county. If he wins, he gets his IT department back. If he loses, he believes he'll have more legal standing if some future plaintiff tries to get him and the treasurer's office on the hook for something the Enterprise Technology department did.
"It's like running the kitchen, but you can't talk to the chef," Hoskins says.
In the meantime, the treasurer's office is still reeling from the effects of having the IT department moved, he says.
With a chunk of money for this year's budget transferred to the Enterprise Technology office, Hoskins' budget came up short in July. That ticked off the county supervisors, who asked him to provide a detailed budget and get all of his expenses approved by the county's budget office.
Hos says that amount to "illegal" micromanaging of the budget of an elected official.
In one example of micromanaging, Hoskins explains how the county budget managers denied his office $4,000 that he needed to develop a better system to explain how county money is processed, something he says is necessary to prepare his roughly $3 million budget.
The only way he can stop the supervisors from doing this is by launching another lawsuit, he says.
In a response to a recent New Times blog post, Hoskins also claims the supervisors are demanding that he identify possible cuts of up to 20 percent in his budget, yet are simultaneously failing to provide him with a detailed, line-item budget. Hoskins sent the comment from his personal e-mail account but confirmed his identity to New Times.
The blog post reported that Robin Hoskins, a Superior Court employee who took sides last week in the fight between Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and the local judiciary branch, is Charles Hoskins' daughter. In his response, reprinted below, the treasurer says he first learned of his daughter's involvement in the bias allegation from a news release put out by the county attorney's office.