PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Lennie McCloskey has been a constable in Maricopa County for 15 years, but he's never had a month like last month.

"Things are changing every day," said McCloskey.

Last week, Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order that has a big effect on how McCloskey does his job.

Executive order delays, but does not erase evictions

One of the main responsibilities of constables is to carry out evictions, which are ordered by the court. But Ducey's recent order delays some of those evictions when renters or a family member is sick with, quarantined for, or has lost a job or income as a result of COVID-19.

"If you’re a person who thinks they fit into one of the five special categories that the governor's order covers, you have a responsibility to communicate with your landlord," said Michael Branham, who is the county's presiding constable.

Branham says the order is not an excuse to stop paying rent. "They still owe the money. At one point in time, they may still have to leave, but at this point, public safety comes first, and public health comes before anything else," said Branham.

The order will help people like Robert, who agreed to speak to CBS 5 Investigates on the condition that we do not use his last name.

"I'm just trying to take it one day at a time," said Robert. He was ordered to self-quarantine after his mother was diagnosed with COVID-19. That means he hasn't worked in two weeks and is now almost one month behind on his rent.

"I’m in a current situation where my little girl is three years old. I'm trying to live paycheck to paycheck," said Robert.

"You know, everybody’s got a story, and I listen to them. And if they’re sick and they've got kids, like the one we just did, you know he’s got a small child. It wasn’t his choice that he lost his job, you know temporarily," said McCloskey.

Robert got a reprieve and some advice about working with his landlord. But not every eviction will see a delay. Situations that do not have a nexus to the coronavirus will likely result in a court order to vacate the premises.

Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
 
 

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