Maricopa County Supervisor District 1

The five-member Maricopa County Board of Supervisors oversees more than 13,000 county employees, handles zoning, pays for roads and parks and allots the county’s $2-plus billion budget for all other county departments and offices. The boundaries of the five county districts they represent are drawn according to population.

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    Denny Barney

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    Matthew Cerra

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Biographical Information

What do you think of recent calls for Maricopa County election plans to be subject to review and approval by the courts or the U.S. Department of Justice?

Should Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s agency be subject to strict oversight by an independent, outside authority in connection with a recent racial-profiling lawsuit?

The cost of complying with court orders in Melendres vs. Arpaio, the discrimination and racial-profiling case against the Sheriff's Office, will cost at least $13.2 million in fiscal 2017, not counting legal costs. How would you propose to pay for it, particularly when jail expenses once again had to be supplemented from the county general fund in the current budget?

A recent $2 million budget shortfall forced the self-funded county animal shelter to restructure and lay off employees. Should the shelter get a portion of its funding from the county general fund? Why or why not?

Maricopa County has provided funding to keep an overflow shelter for the homeless open in downtown Phoenix. Should the county continue to provide the funding for the shelter? What should the county do about the issue of homelessness?

The Arizona Diamondbacks have been at odds with the county over stadium repairs and have suggested asking Phoenix to become the stadium landlord. What is your view of the stadium dispute? Should the county provide more funding to repairs, or even a new stadium, for the Diamondbacks? How should the conflict be resolved?

What is the most important topic not being discussed in county government?

What is the best piece of political advice you ever received?

What is your favorite book (besides a spiritual text)?

What favorite movie has meaning for you?

What is your favorite place in Arizona?

Which Arizona political figure past or present do you most admire and why?

Age 50
Family wife of 23 years-Nichole/ children-Kiley, Blake, Bryson & Bronson
Education Juris Doctorate-ASU College of Law/ Bachelor of Arts-International Relations/ Minor in Japanese
Work history ARCUS Private Capital--2007 to present/ Landmark Companies--1994 to present
Previous public office none
Campaign Phone (480) 305-7070
How long have you lived in Arizona: I am the six generation of my family to live in the valley of sun!
how long have you been registered as a member of your party: 29 years
Previous public offices you’ve sought/held: none
Civic organizations in which you’ve been active: Board of Directors: Greater Phoenix Economic Council/ MAG Regional Council/ AZ Brainfood/ Morrison Institute, ASU/ Boy Scouts, Grand Canyon Council/ Greater Phoenix Leadership/ United Food Bank/ East Valley Partnership/ Baseline Rotary Club, Past President/ Mesa United Way, Campaign Chair Commission on Excellence in Education
The Elections Department has indicated they are still operating under procedures similar to those implemented by the DOJ when they were under the Federal pre-clearance process. Almost all of the 724 polling places that will be used in the upcoming Primary Election were previously cleared by the DOJ. The 15 or so new locations haven’t gone through the DOJ inspection but the Elections Department and our County Recorder have tried to comply with the same conditions and requirements (i.e. wheelchair accessibility, parking accessibility, etc.) established under the DOJ protocols. Calls for new DOJ review appear to be politically motivated.
The Sheriff is an independently elected official. Under the laws in Arizona the role of the Board of Supervisors is clear. Our job is to oversee the budget not the operations of the Sheriff's Department, this includes funding costs associated with compliance to Federal Court mandates. In this particular case the primary objective of the Board is to support the efforts of the department in achieving the necessary change and compliance while minimizing the financial exposure to the taxpayers. The Board is seeking compliance and is in full cooperation with the court and the Sheriff in this regard. The process has facilitated many positive changes thus far with much credit going to the rank and file deputies and staff for their efforts.
Without question the compliance costs associated with the Federal Court order are steep. The goal is to be better. Public safety is a core function of the county and my job is to ensure the Sheriff has the tools necessary to do what he was elected to do and, most importantly, keep the public safe. We have worked hard to be fiscally conservative–we’ve implemented zero-base budgeting, asked departments to justify budgets using proven metrics and best practices, etc. We have little control over the costs associated with mandates from the Federal Court. We will continue to work with the court and the court-appointed monitor. If people are unhappy with job the elected Sheriff is doing that will be decided at the ballot box.
The Animal Care & Control budget is developed based on forecasted revenue received through licensing, adoption fees, fines and donations. We are constantly monitoring ways to increase revenue streams and operational capacity. In 2015, a $500,000 transfer from the general fund was used to improve the staffing resources at the shelter clinics. The department certainly meets the AZ State Revised Statutes related to Animal Control and has consistently strived to go beyond those mandates with the goal of saving as many animals as possible. The recent restructure resulted in a loss of five individuals but we are using the opportunity to cross-train current staff and review all of our standard operating procedures while looking for ways to improve
The overflow shelter was always intended to be temporary. The County is working with the other major homeless funders, including the City of Phoenix, the Arizona Department of Housing, and Valley of the Sun United Way to implement better solutions that addresses the needs of this population. The national trend is shifting from shelters to more permanent solutions and we are working to figure out the best way to do this.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are a tremendous asset to Maricopa County and to the state. The team and its ownership have been great community partners. Our goal is to help them be successful in Chase Field while honoring the agreement that was made with the citizenry 20 years ago. At the heart of the disagreement is a complex landlord tenant dispute that has received much media attention. The Stadium District, as authorized be the legislature, does not have additional resources aside from those in the contract. With capable people on both sides I am confident that we can find a solution that will keep the Diamondbacks playing in Chase Field through the end of the current contract in 2028 and beyond.
The county’s Smart Justice Initiative. We are focusing on evidence-based reforms that allow us to remain tough on crime but also control soaring criminal justice costs. Over 52 percent of our county budget is spent on criminal justice and public safety and so we have to prioritize resources where they will be most effective. Changes are evident from booking assessments, in jail programming all the way through probation. We are trying to adopt strategies to help people get the support they need outside the jail if possible and, if not, then make sure they are less likely to commit new crimes and return after incarceration.
It didn't come to me directly but something I heard early in my entry into politics. I have worked hard to live by this principle in public service.

"Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm." Abraham Lincoln
"As a Man Thinketh" by James Allen
Forrest Gump. He lived a spectacular life without guile.
My home in Gilbert.
I am a big fan of our current governor, Doug Ducey. He is willing to tackle difficult problems and bring innovative thinking to government.
Age 36
Family Wife and daughter
Education Bachelors of Sociology specialized in Social Psychology, two Masters of Education in Adult Education and Training; Curriculum and Instruction
Twitter @votemattcerra
Campaign Phone (602) 753-8574
How long have you lived in Arizona: Born and lived here 19 years of my life.
how long have you been registered as a member of your party: Lifetime
Previous public offices you’ve sought/held: Previously ran for State House, legislative district 16
The Recorder's office has made a number of mistakes that give the impression they need this sort of outside review. A majority of the Board failed to help protect the voters during the Presidential Primary Election. This shows that another set of eyes are necessary to make sure we are protecting the rights of our community to vote in a timely manner.
I have always given people the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise. The sheriff has proven himself unable to complete his duties while following the law he swore to protect. He should be subject to an outside authority until he has proven himself capable of behaving appropriately in his office as Sheriff, or the voters determine he should be removed.
I think the board should be curtailing the funding to the sheriff to make up a portion of this funding. Given it was the department responsible, it should bear the brunt of the cuts necessary to fix the problem. Additionally, jail expenses can be examined to determine if we are using the most cost effective method to detain the accused. As a county we should let the community know what it is costing, when most efficient, and fund that system appropriately.
The county animal shelter is definitely in need of help. I think as responsible community members we should recognize that funding shortfalls at the shelter are the result of previous poor management, and a need for better policy concerning our pets. I would support general funds to care for these animals, and changes in policy that would help cut future costs. We can use funding to reduce accidental breeding, and to help educate the community to stop animal abandonment and reduce the death of adoptable pets at the shelters.
I believe we should do more to help these individuals find the services they need to regain their well being in the community. We should divert some funds to head off the causes of homelessness before these people hit the streets, and help those already there. These are people who hit a few road bumps in life, it happens. Very few people recognize what that is like, and how quickly their own life can be turned upside down.
I believe that an economic analysis should be conducted to determine the benefits of the county or city for hosting the stadium. If we can make a case financially, that the cost of repairs over a set period of time are repaid through other financial gains - then most definitely we should see about helping fix the stadium. I would want to know why the repairs were not currently being maintained by the funding district prior to any of that happening though. Stadiums are sold as boons to the city they are in and benefit from a tax status many others do not enjoy.
I think the county should be looking into where it can help local schools and colleges with funding and partnerships. The state has repeatedly failed to invest in the future workforce our county needs to be competitive. As a county we should be investigating our options to enhance school funding and give our communities an education system they can be proud of.
Remember this is civil service. Not service for self.
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I love the Grand Canyon. It is humbling in its size and grandeur. It is a perfect example of how over time, small changes will make something great or beautiful happen.
I most admire my grandmother, who served on the Bisbee City Council. She was driven to help her community and did so with grace, poise, and a friendly appreciation for her community. She did so well, she has a memorial scholarship in her name that is handed out each year. With an example like that, I know how hard I have to work to serve my neighbors on the County Board.