Process to find interim county attorney under way

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PHOENIX -- More than a dozen people have their eyes on the recently vacated position of Maricopa County attorney.

As Javier Soto explains the selection process begins today. A committee has gathered to take a look at the candidates.

Andrew Thomas announced his resignation a few weeks ago in order to run for state attorney general.

Thirteen people have submitted their names for consideration. Among the candidates are former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley and Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn, both of whom are considered front runners for the post. Chief Deputy County Attorney Phil MacDonnell, who is running the office right now, is also on the list, as are former county attorney candidate Andrew Pacheco and current deputy county attorneys Bill Montgomery and Cleve Lynch.

The County Board of Supervisors has suggested the committee narrow that list down to five based on qualifications and experience. The board will then who decided who will take over on an interim basis.

"What they are looking for is somebody who is able and responsible and respective of the ethical rules of an attorney and of running a large law firm like the County Attorney's Office is," said Cari Gerchick, Maricopa County Communications Director. "[They want] a  person who is dedicated to the rule of law, who has respect for the judicial branch and the role of the judiciary in our process. And is also a wise money manager ...."

A decision is expected by Friday on Monday.

'There's a fine balance between getting the process moved through quickly while also picking the right person," Gerchick said. "We're not rushing, but we're definitely trying to fill this vacancy as quickly and as thoroughly and appropriately as possible."

The person selected by the Board of Supervisors will run the Maricopa County Attorney's Office until the November election. The person elected to the office will then serve for the remaining two years of Thomas' term.