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1/3/2013 6:00:00 AM
Mohave County officials push forward on campaign promises

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

The new, expanded Mohave County Board of Supervisors immediately started dismantling some of the policies put in by the former board after being sworn in Wednesday morning.

The issue that garnered the most applause in the crowded auditorium was the Board's decision to have a call to the public added to the beginning of the Board's regular agendas.

The Board of Supervisors has not had a call to the public on its agenda for many years.

"Please allow us our First Amendment right to speak at meetings," said Golden Valley resident Jim Kanelos.

"We haven't had a call to the public for too long. There are too many people who wanted to bring something before the Board but couldn't," said another Golden Valley resident, Fredrick Williams.

District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson, who attended the Board meeting but did not attend the swearing-in ceremony for new and re-elected officials, claimed the Board never had a call to the public - at least not for the 15 or more years he has served on the Board.

The whole purpose of the call to the public is to allow people to bring items that are not on the Board's agenda to the Board's attention, said Golden Valley resident Steven Robinson.

Johnson protested, saying residents have numerous ways to reach their elected officials and make their concerns known.

"I consider this a business meeting. We're conducting the business of the county. I don't believe a call to the public is necessary," he said.

The Board expanded from three members to five members after the 2010 Census determined that the county had more than 175,000 people. The new Board members are: District 2 Hildy Angius, District 4 Joy Brotherton and District 5 Steven Moss. District 1 Supervisor Gary Watson and District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson were re-elected last year.

The Board got another round of applause when it ordered staff to revise the ordinance governing the county manager's position.

Last year, former County Manager Ron Walker notified the previous Board that he would not renew his contract. The county hired him in 2001. His contract ended on Dec. 31.

His policies and dismissive attitude toward members of the public and the Board over the last four years tarnished the county's reputation in the eyes of many people.

Robinson suggested repealing the ordinance and turning the position into more of an administrative office similar to other Arizona counties.

"I agree with some of the comments made by the public. The ordinance as it is currently drafted needs to be revised," said District 5 Supervisor Steven Moss.

He pointed out several flaws with the ordinance, including the fact that the county manager "may" serve at the pleasure of the Board, that a special meeting is required to dismiss or discipline the county manager and that supervisors have to talk to the county manager before speaking about an issue with any county employee.

District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson explained that the special meeting requirement was added to the ordinance in order to allow the Board to move swiftly and allow the county manager to address the full Board.

Moss asked County Attorney Bill Ekstrom if the special meeting requirement was necessary.

Ekstrom said there was no rule stating the Board had to hold a special meeting.

It could dismiss the county manager by putting the issue on the agenda of a regular meeting if it wanted.

Next on the Board's list was approving Deputy County Manager of Development Services and Public Works Mike Hendrix as an interim county manager until it can find a replacement.

Walker left for vacation in mid-October in order to use up some of the paid time off hours he had accumulated throughout the year.

In the interim, the four deputy county managers have been taking turns filling his shoes.

District 1 Supervisor Gary Watson recommended having Hendrix serve as interim county manager for the next six months while the county looks for a new county manager.

If the county doesn't find someone by the end of the six months, then the Board could continue Hendrix's term.

Johnson protested, saying the Board shouldn't move forward without interviewing people, looking at résumés or writing up a contract.

He recommended staying with the current rotation of deputy county managers.

The Board also asked staff to study the feasibility of removing the four deputy county manager positions and report back to the Board in February.

The previous Board created the four positions in 2009 in an effort to streamline the county's departments and cut costs.

"This was sold to us as a cost savings. I think you would find that most of us don't believe that. We need to get back to where the county was with one county manager," said Mohave Valley resident Roy Hagemyer.

Johnson recommended waiting until the new county manager was hired to discuss the situation.

"I think this is something we can do regardless of who we bring in as county manager. I don't think we have to wait," said District 2 Supervisor Hildy Angius.

The Board also ordered staff to study the risks of removing the security measures that were added to the county administration building and allowing weapons in the building.

Members also discussed removing the county's dress code and leaving the county public information director's position unfilled until the end of the fiscal year in June.

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Related Stories:
• Three speak as Mohave supervisors restore call to the public
• Guns in, dress code out?
• New Board has plenty on its agenda
• Call to the Public decision postponed
• The Call to the Public may make comeback

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, January 6, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Consolato

During the campaign season and after the primary one could read sour grapes almost everyday. Well Buster has started his last term with some real sour grapes. Just think after all these years Buster at this time does not see a way to manipulate and control the BOS so he can continue on his merry way, doing what he wants for the friends he wants to help and dam the rest of the county.He continues to act like a spoiled little child with an attitude. He continues to use his position in an attempt to spring board into some other political career. While I expect the new Board to act with some dignity , it will always fall short with Buster.The sooner Mohave County rids itself of Buster Johnson , the better we will all be.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: gun owner 000

WHAT?? The BOS members are planning to make good on their campaign promises?

This will be the first time in many, many years that any BOS member kept a promise. What's the matter? Is Buster rubbing off on you guys?

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: concerned citizen

"I consider this a business meeting. We're conducting the business of the county. I don't believe a call to the public is necessary," So says "Buster" Johnson.
If they are conducting county "business," what are they afraid of? Do they need to do that away from the public eye for a reason? Are they afraid to answer questions about what they just discussed, at the end of their meeting? Maybe they should hide away out in the middle of the desert or somewhere away from county property, which the taxpayer bought and paid for!

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: Hiram Fong

Next we will have the County Health department studying how Obama contrails over Golden Valley are trying to take our guns away.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: Ralph In Bullhead city

What's with the right wing gun nut society, cheering section. Yeah, Walker became a paranoid control freak, but, Watson went along with him the whole time, and now he has blown in the wind with a new bunch so he could be chairman. He better improve his meeting management skills in a hurry. And sorry, know it all Moss is not your attorney. He browbeat those he disagreed with on the CRUSHD board, will he be the same here? At least the the hunting and fishing crowd is happy with Hendrix. Are you going to do anything about the double dipping Finace director. Two salaries for the same job.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: janice palmer

the first of december i gave a letter to all of the supervisors (incoming included) to apply for the economic development directors job for mohave county. he quit. he was the guy who for 4 yrs was supposed to bring in new business and jobs. the supervisors didnt even bring it up in the first meeting. i hope they do at the next one. we need new businesses for our people, espescially in kingman.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: Butch Meriwether

I do not know about Joy Brotherton and Steve Moss, but I know Hildy Angius stated that she will be using her personally-owned vehicle as her transportation for county business.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: dv s

This sounds like a great start.....thanks....

Wished I could have been there....

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: JIST me sittin downtown

sounds like buster has a problem. I also heard Watson had a huge grin the whole time.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: Clear As A Bell

@ Johnson - Remember that decisions on a public call item need not be immediately made, but may be studied by all BOS for whatever appropriate action at a later time. To NOT have a Call To The Public is to have another veil of suspicion in place on the decisions and actions of the BOS. Be transparent to those whom you serve, why doncha?

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: justanobody sr

well... seems buster is not gonna like this new board setup!
and this county DOES NOT NEED 4 asst county managers!
putting hendrix in as temp county manager is the worst choice they could make. he (hendrix) IS the "good ole boy leader" he brought in his fishing buddy to be in charge of the county vehicle yard, this person had NEVER run, let along manage a vehicle maintenance operation.
let expose people for what they are!

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: Trained Observer

We don't need any deputy managers. Mike Hendrix needs to be out of the mix so he cannot provide any more employment opportunities to people that are his fishing buddies. Buster needs to know that everything the board does needs to be transparent and that people in this county have a right to know everything that goes on - no more back room deals. The new board sounds promising and I think most people are happy to see this change.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: Rick O'Shea

I just hope the county taxpayers don't get stuck buying the two new members $40,000 SUV's like the others received.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Hey, Buster - give it up! The people are done with your nonsence and Lil Ronnie Walker is gone. Just be glad you're still drawing a check from the taxpayers.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013
Article comment by: Al DiCicco

I attended and was very impressed with the newly elected. Both Steve Moss and Hildy Angius clearly want to see the nonsense previously implemented to end. Moss sounds like a Constitutional Lawyer, very well-recieved. Angius was not shy to speak out against such draconian rules and appears to be very interested in our community and the people. Joy Brotherton and Gary Watson seem to be on board as well with reality as oppossed to Busted Johnson who apparently likes being a obstructing bureauocrat. It will be interesting to see if the decide to keep the building a "gun free zone" or not I think it is very foolish to do so. I agree with Moss, all should be allowed to carry including county employees. That you to all that serve rather than dictate.

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