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Former Sheriff Mark Napier retiring from Pima County gov't

Former Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier will retire from county government in August as part of a shakeup within the Pima County Administrator's Office. The former lawman has been a top bureaucrat for the past year.

Earlier this summer, Pima County Administrator Jan Lesher told the Board of Supervisors she was eliminating the county's assistant county administrator positions, shifting some top staffers to senior advisors. On Monday, Lesher said Napier has "chosen to retire."

"While announcing new appointments, I stated that Mr. Mark Napier has chosen to retire Aug. 27, 2022 will be his last day with Pima County," Lesher wrote. "I know you join me in wishing Mr. Napier the very best and thank him for his service to the community."

In an interview with Tucson Sentinel, Napier said the county has "been good to him," but it was time to retire.

"I’ve been at public service since December 1981," he said.

Napier has been in public service for the last 42 years, starting as an officer for the Marshalltown Police Department in Iowa. Napier later moved to Tucson where he worked as Tucson police officer for 21 years, retiring as a captain in 2008. After he retired from TPD, he worked as an administrator for the Glendale Police Department, and later as the associate director of the University of Arizona's Parking and Transportation Services.

In November 2016, Napier successfully challenged Chris Nanos to become the county's top cop. Napier served a single term, and lost to a Nanos comeback effort in November 2020.

After his electoral loss, Napier served a short stint as the chief of staff for the Cochise County Sheriff's Office, working for Sheriff Mark Dannels. Napier applied to become the director of the Pima Animal Care Center, but did not get the job. However, Napier was tapped to lead Pima County's emergency communications and elections in July 2021.

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Napier said a change in his role prompted him to consider the future. He praised Lesher, and said he "blessed" to serve more than four decades in public service. "I wasn't going to be there for another four or five more years, and now it the time."

Lesher — who was appointed as county administrator in April following a messy retirement by former County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry — began reorganizing the county's top bureaucratic positions in June.

In a memo, Lesher told the supervisors she would appoint some employees, and reassign others. As part of this reshuffle, Lesher appointed Steve Holmes, former superintendent of Sunnyside Unified School District, to become a deputy county administrator. Holmes will serve alongside deputy county administrators Dr. Francisco Garcia and Carmine DeBonis. Napier was shifted to a "senior advisor" post.

Lesher added Napier would hit his 42-year milestone within the next six months, and he had "chosen that time to retire."

"I do not plan to fill this vacant senior advisor position," Lesher wrote.

Along with Napier, three other people were recently shifted from assistant county administrators to senior advisors, including Dr. Yves Khawam, Diana Durazo and Nicole Fyffe.

Michelle Campagne will begin serving as a part-time senior advisor on Aug. 15, Lesher wrote.

"As senior advisors, these individuals will conduct research and analysis, assist with the development of policy recommendations and strategies, and coordinate special projects," Lesher wrote.

"My time will be my time in a way it hasn't been in 40 years," Napier said Monday, adding he was looking forward to retiring with his wife who works as a nurse and will leave her job this December. He said he was looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren, and would consult for other police departments.

"I've given a lot of time to my county, and it's time to give time back to my family," he said.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Mark Napier speaks with supporters at a 2016 election night party for Pima County Republicans.