Gates says Mitchell appointment as interim Maricopa County attorney due to experience
PHOENIX — The chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors said Thursday the appointment of Rachel Mitchell as interim county attorney was based on her experience in the office.
Mitchell was unanimously approved Wednesday by the board to hold the role for the next seven months until voters select a replacement for Allister Adel in the November general election.
Her resume includes 30 years in the county attorney’s office and she served as acting county attorney in 2019 when Bill Montgomery left for the Arizona Supreme Court.
Mitchell was chosen over the other Republicans running for the seat: Gina Godbehere, a prosecutor for the city of Goodyear, and Anni Foster, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s general counsel.
“For a seven-month period, it was going to be a challenge quite frankly for someone to come from the outside to have such a steep learning curve to learn about the office,” Bill Gates told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show. “Rachel Mitchell knows about it, she knows it extremely well.”
Gates said the board was looking for someone who could immediately help clean up some of the issues that arose during Adel’s tenure.
Adel resigned from the role March 21 following a tumultuous time in office, including the disclosure that nearly 200 misdemeanor criminal cases had to be dropped because the office didn’t file charges on time.
Mitchell was one of the prosecutors who spoke up and wanted change in the office, according to Gates.
“She’s not going to go in there and defend the status quo,” Gates said. “She is going to shake things up and she knows how to shake them up.”
Mitchell’s appointment wasn’t a political endorsement, at least for Gates.
He said an endorsement for the race, which includes the three Republican candidates and Democrat Julie Gunnigle, could come but that his focus was on bettering the office.
“There was a collective sigh of relief I would argue in the county attorney’s office yesterday,” Gates said. “They respect Rachel and they know that she has their interest and the interests of the families of Maricopa County at heart.”