Ruben Gallego Touts Endorsement from Superior Mayor, a Politician Who Helped Get Anti-Immigrant Sheriff Paul Babeu Elected
Valenzuela -- a former PCSO deputy who resigned after he was demoted for poor job performance during Babeu's predecessor's regime -- was appointed to the jails job by Babeu within days of the sheriff's first taking office.
Which was additionally odd because PCSO records state that Valenzuela couldn't ever be rehired.
New Times sought comment ... about issues brought up in this article. PCSO Chief Deputy Steve Henry, Babeu's second-in-command, responded by defending current employees' actions and backgrounds.
Jayme Valenzuela ran for Pinal County sheriff in 2008 against then-Sheriff Chris Vasquez. After a bitter defeat to Vasquez in the Democratic primary, Valenzuela decided to throw his support to Vasquez's Republican challenger -- Paul Babeu.
He soon was appointed to one of three top jobs over the jails. On its face, the move looks solid, since Valenzuela worked as a Pinal County deputy from the mid-1980s until 1999.
But Valenzuela resigned his Sheriff's Office post on the same day in April 1999 that he was demoted from detective to patrolman after a documented history of shoddy performance.
Valenzuela's employment record came up in 2002 when he applied for a job as a police officer with his hometown Superior Police Department.
During an extensive background check, Superior PD Officer Edward Siemen contacted Valenzuela's previous employers, and a PCSO internal affairs sergeant told Siemen that Valenzuela was "not eligible for rehire."
In his report, Siemen, who no longer works at the Superior department, wrote that one of Valenzuela's former PCSO supervisors told him that Valenzuela "was one of the laziest deputies I ever had." Another told him that "Valenzuela would not complete reports, [that] the few reports he did complete were inadequate, and that Valenzuela was caught numerous times performing personal business while on duty, failing to report for duty when scheduled, and refusing to follow policy."
After Siemen completed his investigation, Superior's then-police chief informed Valenzuela that he didn't pass an employment background check. The chief wrote in a letter to Valenzuela: "You are not eligible for hire by this agency."
Yet despite Babeu's campaign vow to clean up the Sheriff's Office, he brought Valenzuela back into the PCSO fold when he took over in 2009.
Valenzuela's brief biography on the PCSO's website notes that he is a lifelong resident of Superior and received the office's Distinguished Service Award in 1995 for his "performance and dedication in the line of duty."
His past-employment records paint a much different picture.
On his June 2001 application for peace-officer certification (which he had to resubmit for after he resigned from the PCSO), Valenzuela wrote that he was attending the University of Phoenix. A school representative told Siemen that Valenzuela never registered for classes.
Valenzuela also claimed in his Superior application that he'd never been disciplined for improper conduct while a deputy, but PCSO records revealed the demotion and that he once was suspended without pay.
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