Maricopa County Attorney wants say in picking successor

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PHOENIX (AP) -- If the Maricopa County Attorney chooses to resign to run for a higher office, he wants a say in who his successor is.

By law, it's the County Board of Supervisors who would appoint a successor for County Attorney Andrew Thomas until the next election cycle.

But Thomas says making that decision amounts to a conflict of interest for the board.

He sent a letter to the board and other county officials Monday proposing mediation by Feb. 19 so that he would have input on the issue.

If the board balks, Thomas indicated he would ask a court to strip it of its authority to replace him.

Thomas' spokesman Barnett Lotstein pointed to what he says are clear conflicts of interest for the board in naming a successor including standing criminal indictments against two supervisors.

An attorney representing the board said the power of the supervisors to fill vacant elected posts is "absolute."

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

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