September 15, 2020 / Modified sep 16, 2020 11:47 a.m.

Supervisor questions county ban on employee contributions

Ally Miller says rule is unfair to county workers

Supervisor Ally Miller Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller.

A Pima County Supervisor is raising objections about the county's policy against employees giving money to county candidates.

Republican Ally Miller shared a copy of training materials given to county employees at Tuesday's Board meeting, highlighting a section that forbids county workers from making donations to candidates for county office. "They're taxpayers too. They live in this community. They should have the opportunity to support the candidate they want. I don't see how this isn't unconstitutional," Miller said.

Deputy County Attorney Andrew Flagg said the prohibition doesn't come with any consequences for employees, and only applies to contributions of money. "Employees are not prohibited on their own time from participating in the sense of posting signs and speaking and those kinds of things. It's a limitation on donating to candidates for county office, for soliciting donations for candidates for county office," Flagg said.

Miller wasn't satisfied with that answer, and asked the county attorney to investigate what she said was evidence of a double standard, involving a 2016 donation to then-county supervisor Ray Carroll. While Miller didn't name the donor, a campaign report shows a 250 dollar donation to Carroll from Deputy County Administrator Jan Lesher, which appears to contradict the county policy.

Update: Since this story was published, AZPM News received the following statement from Pima County communications director Mark B. Evans: "Ray Carroll refunded the contribution by Chief Deputy County Administrator Jan Lesher at her request after she realized she’d violated the policy. She also self-reported her error to County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, who counseled her to review the county policy and to not do it again." Ms. Lesher has confirmed Evans' statement.

The refund of Ms. Lesher's donation is documented here.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona