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Terry Goddard Honors Attorneys and Staff at Awards Day

(Phoenix, Ariz. – May 6, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard today presented the Office’s Outstanding Team Award to three groups of employees during the annual Awards Day ceremony for the Attorney General’s Office.

One group honored was the Western Union Settlement Team which played a leading role in a four-year investigation that led to a $94 million settlement with the company. The investigation, conducted with other agencies in the Arizona Financial Crimes Task Force, resulted in more than 100 felony counts of facilitation of money laundering. The settlement will provide new resources for law enforcement along the four states that share the border with Mexico to combat the drug cartels and organized crime.

The second group honored was the Staff Training Committee. This group utilizes great teamwork and organizational skills to coordinate training on a wide range of topics, including overviews of various Office sections, Workplace Violence, Records Retention and Disposition, Electronic Case Filings, Consumer Protection, Internet Resources, and Public Records.  Committee members have displayed exceptional dedication by taking on extra responsibilities above their normal workloads.

The third group honored were attorneys and staff who worked on the case of Arizona Association of Providers for the Persons with Disabilities v. State of Arizona.  Last year, the team worked diligently through the challenges of this case, including an emergency hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court and oral arguments before the Arizona Court of Appeals.  This team provided the Department of Economic Security with the highest level of legal representation.   

Goddard presented the Office’s Michael Cudahy Award to Michael Brodksy and Henry Vaci for their outstanding mentoring efforts.  This is the third year the Cudahy Award has been presented.  It honors Cudahy’s 25 years of service to the Attorney General’s Office, including a decade as head of the Criminal Division, and his legacy as an outstanding mentor.  

Brodsky is the Unit Chief Counsel for the Liability Management Section of the Civil Division.  He supervises a team of six lawyers who handle some 220 cases at any one time.  Brodsky works hard to pass on his knowledge and experience in successfully litigating cases to the lawyers in his unit.  The result of his efforts has been a marked increase in the quality of written work and success in the courtroom. 

Vaci practiced law for 30 years in Illinois before moving to Arizona in hopes of moving into semi-retirement.  However, he chose to work for the Attorney General’s Office as a Legal Assistant in the Employment Law Section of the Civil Division and has remained in this position for 10 years.  Throughout his career with the AG’s Office, he has mentored both new and seasoned lawyers with analysis of legal issues, trial preparation, case strategy and methods to deal with the unexpected.  

Goddard presented Special Agent Meg Hinchey and Unit Chief Counsel Jennifer Pollock with the Leadership in Action award.  Assistant Attorney General Julia Smock of the Division of Child Support Enforcement was honored with the Career Service award for her 30 years of dedication to the Attorney General’s Office.

“Our attorneys and staff have excelled in tough economic times,” Goddard said.  “They have improved efficiency, taken on extra responsibilities and sacrificed time with their families to make Arizona a safer place for those we serve.”

Goddard also presented the following awards:

Employee of the Year
Charlotte Abram, Child and Family Protection Division
Elaine Boughner, Public Advocacy Division
Jerry Connolly, Finance Division
Elizabeth Gordon, Solicitor General’s Office
Jordanne Mosley, Criminal Division
Susan Noll, Civil Division
Kathy Plitt, Civil Rights Division
Gil Serrano, Employee Services Office

Attorney of the Year
Curtis Cox, Public Advocacy Division
Laurie Hachtel, Civil Division
Cherie Howe, Public Advocacy Division
Brian Luse, Finance Division
Kevin Smith, Child and Family Protection Division
Kathleen Sweeney, Solicitor General’s Office

Emerging Star
Susanne Blomo, Criminal Division
Jennifer Bonillas Child and Family Protection Division
Carrie Brennan, Solicitor General’s Office
Matt Conti, Criminal Division
Susan Myers, Public Advocacy Division
Chad Sampson, Civil Division
Nicole Slusz, Finance Division
April Theis, Finance Division
Ashyea Thompson, Civil Rights Division
Darlene Wood, Child and Family Protection Division