MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ (3TV/CBS) -- The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has named a new County assessor. Eddie Cook will step into the spot vacated by former County Assessor Paul Petersen. Petersen resigned in January in the wake of an adoption fraud scandal.
The county says Cook will not officially assume the office until he resigns from his position on the Gilbert Town Council. Cook has said he plans to resign at the Council meeting on Feb. 18 and assume his assessor role on Feb. 19.
Cook has been on the Town of Gilbert Council since 2011. He has served as the vice-mayor and Council member. He also serves as the president of Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, chairman of the Maricopa Association of Government Domestic Violence Council, and the board of directors of the MAG Economic Development Committee.
According to the Town of Gilbert website, Cook graduated from Arizona State University with an engineering degree. He was instrumental in the creation of the Town of Gilbert ENDVR (Ending Domestic Violence Responsibly) program. He serves on the board of directors for Gilbert Talks and CeCe's Hope Center.
The website says that Cook is married to his high school sweetheart, and has five children. The family has in lived in Gilbert since 1986.
[CONTINUING COVERAGE: Adoption fraud investigation]
The county assessor opening came after Petersen's resignation amid accusations of running a human smuggling scheme involving pregnant women from the Marshall Islands who were brought to the U.S. to give birth for adoptions.
The women were crammed into homes owned or rented by Petersen, sometimes with little to no prenatal care, authorities have said in court documents. The paperwork indicates Petersen has been involved in adoptions with Marshallese babies as far back as 2005.
Petersen was appointed to the position of county assessor in 2013, won a special election in 2014, and was re-elected in 2016. The county assessor is in charge of property valuation.