Voters in the closely watched Alabama special election will head to the polls Tuesday. Rachel Martin will report live from Birmingham.
Patterson resigns; deal to keep salary non-starter
State Representative Daniel Patterson of Tucson resigned Wednesday from the Arizona House of Representatives. That came shortly after the House Ethics Committee recommended to the full chamber that Patterson be expelled. But, before Patterson stepped down, there was an effort to broker a compromise to keep him in office. From Phoenix, KJZZ’s Mark Brodie reports.
MARK BRODIE: In his resignation letter, Patterson writes that he resigned “reluctantly,” and “under strong protest,” and that the House had become a hostile work environment for him. But Mesa Republican Cecil Ash says he tried to work out a deal, where Patterson would be censured and have to issue a public apology. He also would have had to get mental health counseling, and been banned from coming back to the House, or contacting any lawmakers. But, Patterson would have been able to keep drawing his legislative salary. Ash says he saw that as a hammer, to make sure Patterson complied with the agreement.
CECIL ASH: It’s similar to probation, where you always have the alternative of jail. We don’t have that in this case, so I was hoping to have that as an agreed upon settlement, and it would have ended everything today.
BRODIE: Ash says Patterson was OK with the proposal, but that other members were less so. The ethics complaint filed against Patterson in February was based on claims of domestic violence. The investigative report commissioned by the committee also found instances of abusive and disorderly behavior at the capitol. Patterson had argued he should have had the right to call and cross-examine witnesses. In his resignation letter, he said Wednesday’s hearing violated his Constitutional rights to due process. But House Speaker Andy Tobin disagrees
ANDY TOBIN: I think it’s hard to argue that we didn’t have a thorough investigation done. Some people think it was more thorough than it needed to be, I think I take that as a welcome criticism.
BRODIE: And, Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Vogt says since Patterson basically denied all the allegations against him, a full-blown hearing wouldn’t have done the House any good. But, Vogt says, it didn’t have to be that way.
TED VOGT: Rather than just having the stock, ‘This is unsubstantiated’ for everything, I think some sort of concession there would have helped us re-evaluate that.
BRODIE: With Patterson’s seat now vacant, the Pima County Board of Supervisors will select his replacement.