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County Supervisor Bill Gates sworn in; Board prepares for new year


NORTH VALLEY – Maricopa County’s newest supervisor was sworn into office on Jan. 4.

District 3 Supervisor Bill Gates was elected last November. He is filling the seat of former Supervisor Andy Kunasek, who retired after many years of service to the community. This will be Gates’ first term on the Board of Supervisors. He represents District 3, which stretches from central Phoenix and north to the Anthem area.

Gates has served previously as a Phoenix City Councilman, representing much of the same area he will now serve as a supervisor; his priorities have been fiscal responsibility and government efficiency.

“The goal should not be a government that does more; it should be a government that does better,” Gates said in a release from county staff. “I will continue to focus on making government more efficient, more fiscally responsible, and more accessible for our constituents and our businesses.”

Also on Jan. 4, Maricopa County District 1 Supervisor Denny Barney was elected unanimously as the Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for 2017.  Barney pledged to focus on managing taxpayers’ money wisely, calling it “the number one responsibility that we have.”

Barney was first elected to a four-year term on the Board in 2012 and last served as Board Chairman in 2014.

“We’ll continue to focus on improving the budget processes and managing the fiscal side of the house,” Barney stated in a release from the county.

Barney commended the 2016 chair, District 4 Supervisor Clint Hickman.

“The county is truly better because of his leadership,” he said.

Barney outlined his priorities for the next year, including creating a regulatory environment where businesses can succeed and families can thrive; evidence-based justice initiatives to improve a jail system that sees 100,000 inmates come through each year; and workforce development to engage and reward the best of the more than 13,000 who work for the people of Maricopa County. 

“Our employees are the most valuable asset we have,” Barney said.

Barney also laid out specific plans to improve the way in which citizens interact with the county, including a new county web site to be launched in the coming months; an overhaul of the aging Durango Jail with a groundbreaking set for this spring; and, a repurposing of the Madison Street Jail for the county attorney’s office for spring of 2019.

“There’s a lot to celebrate,” Barney said.  “There’s certainly a lot to do.”

Supervisor Barney now leads the five-member Board. His district covers much of the East Valley. The other four supervisors are Clint Hickman, Steve Chucri, Steve Gallardo, and newly-elected Gates.

Supervisor Gates says he is enthusiastic about serving on the Board of Supervisors.

“I’m excited to work with my fellow Supervisors, elected officials, and county staff and I look forward to representing the residents of District 3 and Maricopa County,” Gates said.