FLORENCE - On Friday, February 22, Civil Deputies from several Arizona counties arrived in Florence for the quarterly meeting of the State Civil Deputies Association. Pinal County Attorney James P. Walsh provided welcoming comments to the group.
"Since Florence is centrally located in Arizona, we host the meeting occasionally," Pinal County's Chief Civil Deputy Chris Roll said. "Other counties host it as well."
Twenty attorneys were on hand for the Friday meeting and others were in attendance by telephone.
While the County Attorney is one of the main faces of law enforcement throughout Arizona, the Civil Deputies serving under them have a significant role in the County's legal process.
"Civil Deputies represent the County Board of Supervisors and elected officials, county departments, special districts and school districts," Roll explained. Roll is frequently seen at the Pinal County Board of Supervisors meeting offering legal advice on issues throughout the session.
"This group was set up to provide an opportunity to discuss current topics and issues for civil attorneys," Roll stated. "It is really a working forum for exchanging ideas and also provides an educational opportunity for us."
One of the items on the agenda for the attorney's was a legislative update from Craig Sullivan who is the director of the County Supervisors Association. While the legislature has been in session for just over a month, the information was plentiful on bills moving through the House and Senate.
"It's always helpful to hear what is transpiring at the State Capitol," said Chris Keller, Chief Civil Deputy for Maricopa County and co-chair of the organization. "It gives us the 'big picture' of what will affect the counties as a whole. There are many different dynamics going on at the state level, the update helps us see where certain things are heading."
For many attorneys attending the quarterly meeting, the meeting is a chance to share ideas and learn what may be heading their way when it comes to legal issues facing counties and their officials.
"This meeting is important because it helps all of us learn about issues that affect other counties," Keller said. "While a particular issue being presented may not apply to you or your jurisdiction right now, you may be seeing it in the future. It's important to learn how another county handled an issue so you may be prepared to address it when it comes your way."
Karen Friar, Chief Civil Deputy from Pima County says the group is very important for the educational aspect it gives the attorneys.
"A lot of what we discuss relates directly to the County as an organization. There is no other forum that provides such specific detail on current affairs and offers important educational opportunities," Friar added.
By participating in the quarterly meeting, attorneys can earn Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits which are required to maintain their membership in the Arizona Bar Association. Attorneys must earn 15 CLEs per year.