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Six finalists vie for top spot in Mohave County

Ron Walker

KINGMAN - Mohave County may have a new county administrator Tuesday.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors will review six finalists for the position during a special meeting at 9:30 a.m. today in the County Administration Building, 700 W Beale St. The Board is expected to go into executive session to discuss the candidates.

Board Chairman Gary Watson said it's possible that the Board may make a decision during the meeting.

The names of the finalists have not been release to the public because they are still considered candidates, according to officials from the Mohave County Human Resources Department.

The county received around 38 applications from candidates across the U.S., said Human Resources Director Ray Osuna. The Board appointed a special committee to review the applications and choose the six best candidates for the position in March. Each Supervisor has the option to request the Board to take a look at any of the candidates the committee rejected.

The Board will also hold a workshop after the meeting to discuss the duties of the new county administrator.

The new county administrator will replace former County Manager Ron Walker, who resigned in December. The Board appointed Mike Hendrix, the former deputy county manager of Public Works, as the interim county administrator earlier this year. Hendrix is one of the finalists for the job.

Walker was hired as the county manager in May 2001. When he was first hired, he helped pull the county out of debt and create a contingency fund.

But in the last four years Walker, who does not have a warm public persona, has been involved in a number of conflicts between the public and the county.

He was involved in a lawsuit brought against the county brought by Golden Valley resident Luca Zanna. Zanna claimed the county violated his First Amendment rights when it prevented him from passing out leaflets during a 2009 town hall meeting with Sen. John McCain.

Another Golden Valley resident, Jim Kanelos, sued the county for a violation of his First Amendment rights after Walker created a policy banning weapons from the County Administration Building, created a dress code for the public and installed new security measures at the Administration Building. All those actions were approved by the supervisors.

Walker also had Kingman resident Mervin Fried arrested on trespassing charges after Fried attempted to bring a pitchfork into the administration building. The charges were later dismissed.

In January 2012, Walker wrote a memo to former Board Chairman Buster Johnson criticizing District 1 Supervisor Gary Watson and Bullhead City resident Hildy Angius for questioning the county leasing a building that was owned by the spouses of two county employees.

Angius was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2012 and serves District 2.

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