San Tan Valley Area Information

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Martyn’s Qualifications For Parks Job Questioned

According to public records, Martyn was picked from more than 200 other applicants even though he did not have the experience in stateparks management nor the preferred college degree for the job.

The extent of Martyn’s experience is as a retired Air Force and Army helicopter pilot. He also has a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics from EmbryRiddle Aeronautical University and a graduate degree in defense management from the online school, American Military University. Martyn also served three years as Pinal County Supervisor.

According to the report in the Arizona Republic, Martyn acknowledged that he did not meet all the qualifications but said he convinced the seven member Arizona State Parks Board that his political connections could help the financially struggling agency.

The board voted unanimously to hire him and Martyn started his new job May 1, managing 216 employees, a $19.5 million budget and 27 state parks.

Martyn’s hiring was approved by the Governor, who was allied with Martyn during a long political battle over a proposed underground copper mine in the heart of Florence. Martyn was paid an undisclosed salary to head up a political organization called “The Truth Squad” which opposed anti-mining candidates in the Florence city council elections this year. All of the anti-mining candidates eventually won their races.Republicans Martyn and Brewer are strong supporters of the Pinal County mine even though opponents fear the mining process will contaminate the community’s ground water. They also are closely connected through a mutual relationship with Chuck Coughlin, an influential Republican who works as a lobbyist for Curis Resources Inc., the mine’s operator.

Coughlin is a longtime friend and close political adviser to Brewer, having run at least six of her political campaigns including county supervisor, secretary of state and governor. But Coughlin said he had no influence in Martyn’s hiring. He did, however, acknowledge that he helped Martyn’s wife get a job working for the Governor earlier this year.

Mine critics say the Florence Copper Project, for which Martyn and Coughlin both have lobbied, will pollute the town’s undergroundwater supply and discourage future residential development because of its proximity to planned housing projects.

But Brewer and Martyn say the mine will bring high-paying jobs to the community.

Written by By Ed Barker

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