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4/3/2013 6:00:00 AM
Moss: Potential for lies warrants 'nuclear' option
Steven Moss
Steven Moss

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Lying to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors would have criminal consequences for county employees under a proposed new ordinance, even though no one is saying that supervisors are being lied to - and the person proposing the new law doesn't think it will ever be used.

A public hearing on the proposal, which would make it a criminal offense for a county employee to lie to the Board of Supervisors in a public meeting, is scheduled on May 6.

"I firmly believe the best offense is a good defense," said District 5 Supervisor Steven Moss. "I don't think we'll ever use this, but having the option to go nuclear is a good idea.

"We're trying to do our best to make a good decision. This is to ensure that we are getting good information."

He said he tailored the ordinance to apply only when a county employee is speaking to the Board as a whole in a public meeting.

Deputy County Civil Attorney Bill Ekstrom said it might be difficult to enforce the ordinance if it passes, but he did not detail what those difficulties might be.

After being assured by Ekstrom that the Board has the authority to enact the ordinance, District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson said it's not needed.

"I think the best thing to do is hire qualified people," he said. "I think this is overkill."

The ordinance is just one part of a larger plan to ensure the Board is getting accurate information from employees, Moss said.

He pointed to District 2 Supervisor Hildy Angius' request for an employee ethics handbook. Angius wants an ethics handbook that would dovetail with the county's merit rules, which are currently under revision.

"I want something that captures the essence of the merit rules, that's easier to read," she said.

County Human Resource Director Ray Osuna said his office could complete a draft of an ethics handbook by June 30.

Moss also asked for a conflict of interest form that employees would be required to fill out any time they or a family member did business with the county.

Arizona Revised Statutes requires counties to provide such forms to employees and keep them in a central file that can be accessed by the public.

It was revealed in 2010 that the county had not been keeping accurate records on potential employee conflicts of interest when Angius discovered that the Mohave County Library District was leasing office space from the spouses of two county employees.

The Board will discuss the form in a special meeting set for April 8.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013

Well - The new board is in place. As a long time county employee I'm a little taken back at the attitude of a few new members to the board. As I listen to what is unfolding, I am seeing a few members who feel that county employees are a bunch of self-serving people incapable of telling the truth who also have no ethics, values or morals. And we have all been judged as such because of a few bad administrators and managers.

How unfortunate that you few new supervisors have not taken the opportunity to settle into your new job and observe the county in operation from the inside and learn how to run Mohave County. I assure you that treating everyone like a pack of liars and crooks will not make for an easy transition. I understand that you are new and there is a learning curve for your new job, but please extend the same courtesy to me and my fellow co-workers as we extend to you as you gain the skill, knowledge and patience to do your job!

Just because you are a Board Member does not place you in a class above any other Mohave County Employee.

Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013
Article comment by: Donna Wickerd

Perhaps Steven Moss saw the real KUSD numbers and was horrified that their own staff would lie to the he wanted to make sure they never do!

Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013
Article comment by: County Employee

@ Here Ye Here Ye!!

This person speaks the truth. As recently as this week our staff was reminded of the procedures regarding contacting the Board of Supervisors, which involves our Department Head and County Administrator being present. (don't think that was the Supervisors direction) Yea right. I might not get terminated but I know what my job duties would be next week!

Maybe what we are lacking here is an acknowledgement from the County Administrator that if we talk directly to the Supervisor’s and tell them some of the truth’s (and lies) that have taken place over the years, that we won’t be under investigation next week for some sort of alleged frivolous act.

Speaking of investigations people are concerned about the cost of this Lincoln Life investigation. Anybody ask how much it cost to investigate and terminate an employee for accepting personal calls on their county cell phone? Who ordered that investigation and why aren’t they so gung-ho about the Lincoln Life fiasco? And how many Department Heads and Managers relinquished their county cell phones around that same time so they couldn’t be investigated?

It is sad that the only forum for county employees to communicate with our Supervisors is through the KDM and will remain so until the Board puts a stop to it. Thanks for reading Supervisors!

Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Consolato

Supervisor Moss:

I used the term "Mohave County Politicians" in a general way so as not to suggest other Supervisors would lie. As you can see the same general sentiment has been expressed in different words by most of the comments on this article. Maybe I should have been more specific. I do hope this new BOS does more than pretend to listen when the public speaks in the Public Hearing. In the past it has been a farce. Again I have a real concern about the moral of the County Employee. They have been demoralized and this proposed new ordinance seems to indicate to them that the demoralization will continue. I hope it goes just the other way and the employees begin to feel mutual respects, get a long over do raise and a yearly picnic with no controversy. A reward system works better than fear and intimidation used in the past.

Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013
Article comment by: Ethan Allrn

That is what you get from attorneys more unnecessary laws! Enough laws are on the books Mr. Moss to punish offenders and the comment about the nuclear option shows how full of yourself you truly are.

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Article comment by: Concerned Employee Resident

Dear BOS-
I know you are trying to do what you think is right based on campaign promises and perceptions you may have as your campaigns progressed leading to your elections and Thank You for your efforts however, I believe you are incorrect in your assessment of employee conduct. So incorrect that one of you feels justified in having an option to go "Nuclear" in case you need to. In the vast majority of cases, the BOS is addressed by staff who are licensed or certified professionals of one expertise or another. Did you know that each licensed Professional operates under a Professional Code of Ethics and is subject to career ending discipline by a Board of Examiners for the Registrants qualifications? Perhaps you need to read the various Professions Codes before you go "nuclear". What you are doing is doubting the Professional ethics of employees. Which of you holds licenses as your employees do? How committed to those ethics are you? I see this issue as no different than a requirement that one take a loyalty oath over and over. The one an employee took in the Military had no expiration date. The same as the Code of Ethics a Professional takes. There is no expiration date. No expiration dates and no maybes. Supervisor Johnson has it right. "Hire people you trust". And I might add to entrust them to do their jobs without insinuating that their ethics are suspect. A professional is duty bound to tell you the truth and if that's not what you want to hear or hat you want to believe then you are lying to yourself.

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Article comment by: Roy Leggett

I guess it's okay to pass a law that employees can not lie to the County Supervisors. Doesn't the County Supervisors work for the people? How about a law making it a criminal offense if the County Supervisors lie to the people? Let's see, one year in jail for the 1st offense , 3 years in the state pin for the second offense. The only problem would be, we would have no county supervisors. I'll get a lawyer to write this up and then see how many signatures we can get from the people. Might even go as for as including all city and county officials in this. Maybe we would then have honest politicians. .Does anyone else think this may be a good idea? Let me know. I am retired and have a lot of retired friends who would be happy to gather signatures.

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Moss

Jim Consolato- The BOS does not have jurisdiction over other elected officials. We only control their budgets and even that control is not unlimited.

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

Interesting to watch as people spew on about something that should be a no brainer. And BTW - the Supervisors would be held to the same stanadrd because they are employees of the county. Strange how people feel lying shoud not be punishable.

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Article comment by: Just Be Honest

I have an idea. What if the county employees just tell the truth. Then there are no consequences.

Not all county employees are dishonest but I can tell you from first hand experience that their are many within the county that do lie for personal gain, and it starts at the top.

Stay tuned as the lies become public knowledge.

Oh the stories I can tell.....

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Article comment by: Here Ye Here Ye!!

Steve Moss, Hildy, and members of the board!!!
Why don't you start going through emails of management and staff members? There you will find that in February some county employees received warnings and specific directions on how to speak with board members. Most folks know far more than they would admit, but they value their employment more than standing for what is right, need proof? What did the human resources staff tell you? They knew of the error since 2009 but were afraid to speak up because they would lose their jobs.

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Article comment by: don wagner

The very sadist thing I have seen in the mental health system is a human being being treated like a dog. Very sad and makes me mad . Out of my hands. I truly love our county .Just stand up for humanity . Dont sing a christmas carroll for a smoke. Kingman loves you.

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

No one passes a law they do not intend to use! I guess this is the first lie told in this matter and ought to be the first one when its applied to anyone this man who made this lie ought to be first to be prosecuted under this rule/law!

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Article comment by: Why So Suspicious of All Workers?

Even though it is admittedly not needed the local Republicans brings the War on Workers to a location near you.

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Article comment by: Concerned employee Resident

[Comment deleted for excessive length]

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Article comment by: Mohave County Citizen

"a criminal offense for a county employee to lie to the Board of Supervisors in a public meeting"

I have a better idea.

Let's make it a crimianl offense for a County Supervisor to lie to the public in a public meeting.

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Article comment by: John Lee

Another genius Government Official making much adieu about nothing. If they have so much time on their hands perhaps a 1/2 time employment option would stop them from wasting space and oxygen.

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Article comment by: Kingman Lifer

I want to know from this new Ron Walker on the BOS if this new ordinance will include the Supervisors? If a supervisor lies to the public will criminal charges be brought against the supervisor? This guy wants everyone to tell the truth so what supervisors?

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Consolato

I think Steve Moss is doing a fine job over all. The fact that this proposed ordinance will go before a public hearing for input is great. Had he not narrowed the scope of the ordinance to " only when a County Employee is speaking to the BOS in a Public Hearing", I would have to object. Lying to your Supervisor or Department Head is usually already subject to Capital Punishment in the workplace, that being termination. Lying in regards to theft or fraud is already considered a criminal offense and actually within the scope of this newly proposed ordinance but a bit of redundancy never hurts. My only remaining concern is that this new BOS need not continue the fear that is prevalent among County Employees due to the heavy handed intimidation of the previous BOS under Ron Walker and don't kid yourselves they were UNDER Ron Walker. I hate liars and wonder why Supervisor Moss does not make such an ordinance for Mohave County Politicians that lie.

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Article comment by: Marine Lady

Employee Ethics Handbook - Employee Conflict of Interest Disclosure - Give me a break!! County employees are subject to background, including credit reports if warranted. It is not a crime to lie, other than under oath or affirmation in the legal sense of perjury. The BOS is worried the employees may not speak the truth in addressing them. How about all the employees who have been lied to by either their managers, or by the County hierarchy, ie County Manager, BOS, etc.? What redress do the employees have against being lied to? And, I include lies of ommission in this category. How often does "Staff" provide full disclosure to employees? Supervisors Moss and Anguis may not trust County employees, thus they want a handbook, and as Supervisor Moss states, "the option to go nuclear is a good idea." Wow - that's a strong word to use when talking about employee discipline. Is that where Moss and Anguis want us to go? To a point where the employees feel it's a "US against THEM" situation. That can only promote hostility, frustration, and animosity among the very workforce that keeps this County running. Believe me Supervisors, you do not run this County - it is the employees at their desks, in the field, and their vehicles doing their jobs that run this County. Bottom line - Those on the BOS that want this crap, don't trust County employees, their own people. Well, the secret is out now - the employees do not trust "Staff' and we would like the same assurances of honesty and openess from them as they will be demanding of us. If the BOS passes the same ordinance, and requires the same disclosure by senior staff, and makes that information available to employees, as employee information is available to them, I might, just might, go along with this. No, I don't think I will after all. It's just crap!

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Article comment by: Prince Harry

We gave up Walker for a new King.

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Article comment by: WE THE PEOPLE{ME} THINKING

How is it a crime if you failed to ask the right QUESTION???- It is a common stander practice across many dept's to only answer those direct and answer in a direct manner question's being ask.

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Article comment by: But What Legal Remedy Will Be Used ....

.....will it be a misdemeanor or a FELONY when it is found that a BOARD Of SUPERVISOR member has LIED or will that be one of those "we probably won't use or need it" scenarios. Has anyone called the "village" and advised them that their idiot has been found and they are on the Mohave County Board Of Supervisors. What a circus !!!!!

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Article comment by: Thai Mai Shu

As long as the Board of Supervisors are included in this waste of time new ordinance then I support the effort.

I mean if an employee can't lie to their boss then the Board shouldn't be exempt from the same consequences when they lie to us, their bosses.

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