Ask any journalist what makes the biggest difference in covering public agencies, and they’re not likely to name the top dog.

As helpful or unhelpful as an elected official may appear, they are rarely the first stop on a reporter’s quest to get information. Instead, they turn to an organization’s front line of defense public service—the public information officer, or PIO.

That’s why it’s nice to see good folks be recognized for their work assisting the public and the Fourth Estate.

The annual Phoenix New Times “Best of Phoenix” arrived, and “Best PIO” goes to a couple of staffers at the Superior Court for Maricopa County—Vincent Funari and Karen Arra. Congratulations!

(If you’re surprised the New Times has such a wonky category, you may not have noticed that the alternative news weekly has been in court a time or three. If anyone desires a transparent and fair court process, it’s the New Times and its soon-to-be-vamoosed owners!)

I first came across the good news on the court’s own Facebook page, but there was no link to read the glowing tribute penned by the digitally-ink-stained wretches. Whazzup, I thought? I mean, if anyone knows social media and how to link up a storm, that court and these PIOs do.

So I shuffled over to the PNT’s own site, searched, located the item—and had a good chuckle at how the newspaper heaps praise along with a side of sarcasm. You can read it here.

Given how accomplished Vincent and Karen are, it’s no wonder that they decided to excerpt only the pertinent portion and leave the snarky history lesson aside.

But here at AZ Attorney, we enjoy the whole, unvarnished story!

If you come across either of these great professionals when you pass through the court, give them your best wishes; they’ve earned it.