PHOENIX - Former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce has been offered a job with the Maricopa County Treasurer's office overseeing the agency's technical services department, but he may not take the job right away because he's too busy.
The Republican is a contentious figure in Arizona because he authored a series of laws that cracked down on people in the country illegally, including Senate Bill 1070. He became the only state legislator ever recalled from office by state voters in 2011.
Pearce said Monday that he wasn't looking for a job but is considering the offer from Treasurer Charles "Hos" Hoskins to oversee the department's human resources, legislative outreach, budget and senior citizen outreach. He's not sure if he'll take the position because he's too busy at the moment, Pearce said.
"I'm honored. I wasn't looking for a job," he said. "The job they'd like me to do fits, and we're talking."
Hoskins said he offered Pearce the $85,000-a -year position because he has the experience to jump-start an underused program to help low-income seniors with their taxes. That program uses money from tax-lien sales to help seniors on fixed incomes with their property taxes so they can stay in their homes.
Hoskins said he knew there would be criticism of his offer to Pearce.
"I realize that he is a hot potato, but he's also is a man of integrity and he's honest," Hoskins said. "And when you're dealing with $10 million in public money, that's the kind of person you want."
"And he's also in a position to help the county with any legislative issues that we might have," he said. "So he's a talent that I think can do some good for the low-income elderly, help keep them in their homes, not tax them out onto the street."
Pearce is vice chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, has a radio show where he champions conservative causes and continues to be a lightning rod for criticism from Democrats. He said he's also continuing to work on border issues.
Democratic state Sen. Steve Gallardo tweeted that Pearce is `the worst person to have representing Maricopa County at Arizona Legislature," saying that person need to have the ability to "reach out to Democrats (Latinos) and moderate Republicans." Gallardo is running for Maricopa County supervisor.
Pearce said he has a long background outside his legislative experience, including running the state's Motor Vehicle Division and managing the nation's third-largest sheriff's department as a chief deputy Maricopa County sheriff.
"It's a long, long record," Pearce said. "I know how to run government and make it smaller and more efficient and serve the taxpayers well."
Hoskins said Pearce told him he couldn't take the job immediately, but he has no one else in mind for the job. The job is the lowest-paying manager's position at the treasurer's office and has been vacant for several years.