Maricopa County Attorney Adel responds to division chiefs who called for her to resign

Feb 22, 2022, 9:02 PM | Updated: 11:19 pm
(Screenshot via Maricopa County Attorney's Office YouTube)...
(Screenshot via Maricopa County Attorney's Office YouTube)
(Screenshot via Maricopa County Attorney's Office YouTube)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel in a letter Tuesday responded to five top prosecutors in the office who called for her to resign last week, saying she found the criminal division chiefs’ concerns to be centered around their dislike of the way she is running the office.

“In general, I find your concerns to be that you do not like the way I run this office,” Adel wrote in a letter directed at the chiefs. “You do not agree with certain decisions I have made.

“You do not like that I run the office differently than you would if you were the elected county attorney. But you are not.”

The division chiefs in a letter to Adel on Feb. 15, which was also sent to Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, laid out a lack of confidence in her ability to do the high-profile job after failing to keep a promise made in November to appear more in the office.

There were also concerns about the Republican allegedly continuing to drink after leaving a rehab facility in September.

Adel said a collaborative approach to decision-making in the office may have led the criminal division chiefs to believe the office is “county attorney by committee.”

“I am the county attorney, and I must make the final decisions about many matters,” she said. “Sometimes I agree with your recommendations and sometimes I do not. Naturally, this means that you may not agree with all the decisions I make or how I decide to conduct the business of this office.

“When that level of disagreement rises to such a degree that you feel you cannot support my decisions, as in any other industry, your choice is to either do your job and stick it out or resign.”

Adel in the letter said she does not need to be physically in the office to do her job, and that she is in regular contact with members of her executive staff and others by phone, email and video conference.

“The fact that I was not regularly, physically in the office in December and January was not due to relapse issues and it did not impact my ability to do my job,” she said.

The division chiefs in the letter acknowledged time missed because of the holiday, as well as she and her children contracting COVID-19 in January, but said the amount of time was shocking in light of the promise to appear more.

“While it may have affected your confidence in my ability to run the office, it did nothing to my actual ability to run the office and it certainly was not unethical for me to conduct business off-site – as many in this office, including most of you, regularly do when teleworking,” Adel said.

Adel added she has not practiced law while under the influence of any substance.

“I am disappointed that the fact that I sought treatment for what would usually be a very private medical matter is being used to support assumptions and innuendos about my sobriety,” she said.

Adel concluded the letter by saying the division chiefs should focus on their work and employees and stop trying to “dictate and second-guess the way I choose to manage this office and the decisions I make.”

“You have stated that you have no confidence in my ability to run this office,” she continued. “If that makes it impossible for you to continue to work here in any capacity, your option is to resign from the office, not demand my resignation and cast unjustified accusations and innuendo at me.”

Adel said she fully intends to serve her entire term and additional terms if elected again.

The district chiefs’ letter came after Adel’s communications director, Jennifer Liewer, on Feb. 9 submitted her resignation, citing a mutual loss of trust and confidence in professional interactions.

Adel defeated Democratic challenger Julie Gunnigle in the 2020 election to remain in the position she was appointed to after taking over for Bill Montgomery, who he left for a seat on the state Supreme Court.

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Maricopa County Attorney Adel responds to division chiefs who called for her to resign