Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald
GRAHAM COUNTY – Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
For Graham County’s special Clerk of the Superior Court election Tuesday, vote for the candidate with proven experience, integrity, leadership, and dedication; vote for Heidi Torrio.
Torrio’s list of endorsements include the past two Clerks of the Superior Court, Amelia Sainz, and Darlee Maylen, retired Graham County Superior Court Judge R. Douglas Holt, Graham County Supervisors Danny Smith, and Paul David, retired County Manager Terry Cooper, former Safford City Councilman Ed Ragland, retired Safford High School Principal John Bonefas, UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje, retired NFL player and former Juvenile Probation Officer Paul Robinson, retired Graham County Sheriff Frank Hughes, Law Enforcement Administrator Ida Furnish and many more.
“If elected, be assured that it will be a smooth transition to the Clerk’s position due to my experience,” Torrio said. “I will continue to provide integrity and leadership service to our county as I have done for the past 27 years.”
The May 19 special election is a recall election against Graham County Clerk of the Superior Court Cindy Woodman, who was elected in November 2018 but was removed from her office by an administrative order from the Supreme Court of the State of Arizona on Oct. 11, 2019, after Graham County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Peterson requested administrative control and oversight. After meeting with Woodman, Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert M. Brutinel stripped her of her office and gave control to Judge Peterson, who then appointed a lead clerk to run the office. Since then, Woodman has been placed in Justice of the Peace District 2 in Pima.
In his letter, Judge Peterson wrote, “In consideration of the foregoing, I submit that there is conclusive evidence that Ms. Woodman is unwilling or unable to perform her duties as clerk of the court. Ample time has passed since Ms. Woodman was unequivocally made aware of the systemic problems which plague the clerk’s office. She has completely failed to acknowledge responsibility for her actions and has utterly failed to remedy the problems. Instead, these problems have increased to the extent that they have seriously impacted the judicial function of the court.”
While Woodman has been removed from the office and physically placed 10 miles away at the small Justice of the Peace facility, county taxpayers are still paying her $63,800 annual salary, which actually equates to roughly $110,000 after adding in the county’s employee-related expenses. She said she does not recognize the validity of the recall election and therefore chose to not campaign.
On the ballot is just one question regarding who the voter chooses to be Clerk and a list of the three candidates, Marianne Clonts, Cindy Woodman, and Heidi Torrio.
Torrio is the candidate overwhelmingly supported by those who work in the court system. While current Graham County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Peterson cannot officially endorse a candidate due to protocols, that doesn’t include those who have retired from the position, such as Judge R. Douglas Holt.
“I support Heidi Torrio’s candidacy for Clerk of the Superior Court in Graham County,” Judge Holt wrote. “Her many years of service in the court system has given her great expertise and competence for this important position. I wholeheartedly support Heidi Torrio and encourage all Graham County voters to do the same.”
Torrio has also been recognized by the Arizona Supreme Court and has been given recognition for the successful completion of the Arizona Court Manager Program as instituted by the Court Leadership Institute of Arizona.
As of Friday, more than 5,000 early mail-in votes have been recorded, according to Graham County Elections Director Hannah Duderstadt.
During the 2018 General Election, there were about 10,786 total ballots counted with more than two-thirds of them done by early ballot. Voter turnout for Graham County was just over 60 percent.
On Tuesday, vote centers will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following places:
Solomon School Gym – 2285 S. Stevens Ave., Solomon
Graham County Fairgrounds Agriculture Building – 3805 S. U.S. Highway 191, Safford.
St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church – 311 Central Ave., Safford
Eastern Arizona College Fine Arts Auditorium – 663 N. Stadium Ave., Thatcher
Pima School – 192 E. 200 South, Pima
Fort Thomas School Gym – 15502 W. U.S. Highway 70, Fort Thomas
Robert Olivar Sr. Learning Center – 297 E. U.S. Highway 70, Bylas
Bonita School – 18008 S. Fort Grant Rd., Bonita
San Carlos Housing Authority – Moonbase Road, Peridot