Steve Chucri Maricopa County Supervisor – Saturday September 21st

Often elected officials ask for the vote and once elected never show up again. That is not the case with Supervisor Steve Chucri, who represents Fountain Hills. Over the past several years Steve Chucri has continued to report back in person on the actions taken by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. On the third Saturday of September at 9 o’clock the Fountain Hills Republican Club held their regular monthly meeting and Supervisor Chucri addressed many important issues to an audience that filled the Fountain Hills Community Center ballroom. Steve Chucri then answered all questions from the general public and was the very last person to leave the meeting after visiting with individuals, many who just wanted to thank him for his service and leadership, while others stopped by to ask him personal questions.


He began his presentation on a personal note describing how he met his wife, Christine in Washington 23 years ago while they worked for two different Arizona Congressmen. Steve invited Christine to dinner, she declined. So, he suggested lunch and their relationship began. Although President Clinton was in the White House dealing at the time with the Clinton sex scandal Steve was still able to achieve his wish of being able to propose to Christine at the White House. The couple recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary.


The current Board of Supervisors received a lot of press coverage, much of it positive, over the past few years, particularly while Steve was Chairman of Supervisors. Before Supervisor Chucri updated the audience on a number of key issues he gave some other examples of the nitty gritty, daily occurrences that also have to be dealt with daily. These subjects may appear to be more minor situations but they were still important issues for individual constituents. The Board of Supervisors also has to address being sued every week from many different quarters.


For the third year in a row Maricopa is the fastest growing county in the nation. There are 200 new arrivals every single day. L.A County ranks number one in population, followed by Cook County (Chicago), then Harris County. Maricopa County is gradually catching up and is currently the fourth largest county. Las Vegas is the second fastest growing county, however, our net change is still 60% higher than that of Clark County. This means that the dynamics have changed dramatically over the last several years. One aspect that has not changed, for the last three years the property tax rates has remained flat. Steve Chucri brought with him to the Board his business background as President and CEO of Arizona Restaurant Association to use as a model for conducting the Board’s business.


Supervisor Chucri briefed those present on the latest dealings with the Diamondbacks. The last time he visited, the Diamondbacks had claimed the County was responsible for $185m in major updates to the downtown stadium. During this visit, Supervisor Chucri provided an update to a negotiated deal that had been reached. A new timeframe has been set. The Diamondbacks are not authorized to move before 2023. However, they can start looking for a location for a new stadium in Maricopa County. If they move the franchise outside Maricopa County, the Team pays a buyout starting at $25m. Also, for now on the Diamondbacks will be fully responsible for any and all repairs to the current stadium. In the mean-time media outlets reported that the Diamondbacks sent out feelers about moving the franchise to either Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada.


The next subject discussed was about finding a replacement for Bill Montgomery, the County Attorney. A diverse group of seven individuals has been selected for this task. The candidate evaluators were picked to represent the makeup of the County. They included lawyers and non-lawyers and a balance of men and women. County Attorney candidates will be asked a series of 20-30 questions and then the field will be narrowed to 3-5 finalists. Interviews will begin on October 2nd. The Board of Supervisors is looking for someone to not just complete Bill Montgomery’s term but plans on running for County Attorney for their own full term.


Much has been done by legislators and the Board of Supervisors to refine and improve elections procedures. Many of the procedures had not been revised for thirty years when Maricopa County was a much, much smaller entity. Now, many of the logistics along with the decision making will be in the hands of the Board of Supervisors. Steve Chucri was excited with a special hire, Scott Jarrett, to lead a new team of 20-24 personnel to coordinate the intricacies of the elections. Further, Gary Bonkowski, a 22-year Veteran, who served in Kosovar, Iraq and Afghanistan has been hired to direct logistics. He also had an impressive career in private sector logistics operations. New voting equipment has been leased to handle the new series of elections. One of the many goals of the Board will be to cut down the time to complete the ballot counting.


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Next month’s meeting will be The Annual Barbecue Picnic Fundraiser which will be held on Saturday October 19 in the Golden Eagle Park from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Two important Speakers have already agreed to speak on this occasion, Congressman David Schweikert and the Chair of the Arizona Republican Party, Kelli Ward. Other officials and dignitaries will also attend. As a fundraiser, attendees are asked to sign up early, at $15.00 a head, so that appropriate quantities of vittles can be ordered. It is requested that checks be mailed to the Club Treasurer, Harold Denomme, at Fountain Hills Republican Club, P.O. Box 17814, Fountain Hills, AZ85269.