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Maricopa County accepting applications for vacant assessor job

(Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Photo)

PHOENIX – The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is moving to fill its assessor vacancy in the wake of Paul Petersen’s resignation earlier this month.

On Jan. 7, three months after his arrest on human trafficking charges related to an alleged multistate adoption scheme, Petersen announced that he was stepping down.

State law says the board must fill the assessor’s position if it becomes vacant, but it doesn’t define a process for making the appointment.

On Friday, the board announced it was seeking candidates to run the agency responsible for determining the value of metro Phoenix properties for tax purposes.

Hopefuls must be at least 18 years old and registered as a Republican, the same party at Petersen, as required by state law.

The job isn’t guaranteed beyond the end of the year, when Petersen’s elected term expires.

A questionnaire that is part of the application process asks if the candidate is planning to run for the office this year, but it says running isn’t a requirement.

According to county elections records, two candidates have filed to run for assessor, Republican Rodney Glassman and Democrat Aaron Connor.

Applicants must send the filled-out questionnaire along with a letter of interest and resume to the Office of the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, 301 W. Jefferson St., 10th Floor, Phoenix, AZ, 85003, or submit the documents via email. Hopefuls have the option of submitting up to three letters of recommendation, too.

Applications must be received by Jan. 27 at 5 p.m.

No timetable was set on when a new assessor will be selected. The board doesn’t have any meetings currently scheduled.

Bill Wiley will continue in the role of acting administrator for the office until a new assessor is appointed. Wiley was hired Oct. 30 at a rate of $72 per hour after the board suspended Petersen from his $77,000-per-year position.

Petersen was arrested Oct. 8 on 62 charges in Arizona, Arkansas and Utah.

He is accused of illegally recruiting, transporting and paying dozens of pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to adopt out their babies in the United States.

Petersen is facing 32 fraud charges for allegedly claiming the Marshallese women were Arizona residents to get them health care coverage, bilking the state’s Medicaid system out of more than $800,000. He pleaded not guilty to the Arizona charges Nov. 5.

He’s since pleaded not guilty to 19 federal charges in Arkansas related to the alleged trafficking scheme. He also faces 11 related charges in Utah but has not yet entered a plea there.

Petersen’s attorney has said prosecutors have miscast his client as a human smuggler, vilifying him before his side of the story could get out.

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