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Pinal County's top prosecutor sends a dozen packing

Twelve employees have been let go by new Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles, who issued a statement saying the firings "reflect a cultural shift in prosecution" in his office.

Voyles said he is committed to changing a deep-rooted culture in the Florence office that resulted in the release of violent offenders.

The firings took place New Year's Eve.

Richard Platt served as Pinal County chief deputy prosecutor under Voyles' predecessor, Jim Walsh. He resigned shortly after Voyles took office, he said, because he believed Voyles was likely to bring in his own management personnel.

"I can understand that when a new person comes in, they want to bring in their own management personnel, that's understandable," said Platt. "But a number of the employees were non-management personnel. I was shocked."

Platt said at least 10 of the workers were attorneys and several of them were experienced capital murder prosecutors.

He called the firings a setback for the office.

Platt said he first heard of the firings on Monday. "I received a phone call about 4 p.m. Monday afternoon that a list had come over from the Pinal County Human Resources department allegedly going to terminate 12 people," he said.

Despite being aware there might be management changes, the firings still caught Platt off guard. He said Voyles informed the office there would be no changes for six months.

"To do it on the last day of December, without any prior notice, is a pretty lousy thing to do, in my opinion."

Voyles did not respond to interview requests. A receptionist in his office said there will be a press conference "sometime in the near future," but wouldn not give specifics about where or when.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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