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12/19/2013 6:02:00 AM
Mohave County moves quickly on new position to monitor Legislature
Travis Lingenfelter
Travis Lingenfelter
Kim Steele
Miner Staff Reporter

Correction: In the story "A good first choice - or 'a big mistake'," it was incorrectly reported that Mohave County Supervisor Joy Brotherton emailed members of the Kingman City Council before they made their decision for city manager to tell them candidate Travis Lingenfelter would make a wonderful choice. Brotherton emailed the Council members after their decision was made to tell them she was disappointed and Lingenfelter would have made a wonderful choice. The Daily Miner regrets the error.

KINGMAN - It didn't take long for the Mohave County Board of Supervisors to fill an unadvertised position created at a public meeting the day before, despite strong opposition from two Board members.

Travis Lingenfelter was hired Tuesday morning as a full-time employee for six months to monitor House and Senate bills during the upcoming legislative session and perform other specialized duties. Lingenfelter also will work on environmental issues, special projects, property management and economic development for the county.

Lingenfelter, who will start Dec. 30, will be paid $40,000 for the six months, which will include travel expenses and use of a vehicle for two trips a week to Phoenix. The job includes office space but no benefits, and Lingenfelter will report to Mohave County Administrator Mike Hendrix.

The creation of a new job came out a request earlier this month by Supervisor Buster Johnson, District 3, for the county to hire a professional lobbying firm in Phoenix to monitor bills that could have a negative impact on Mohave County. Johnson wanted the contract to run throughout the legislative session, which begins in January and lasts about 180 days.

But it quickly changed direction after Board Chairman Gary Watson, District 1, said a new county employee could not only keep track of those bills on the Internet, but could handle some of the Board's upcoming special projects and issues.

Supervisors Johnson and Hildy Angius, District 2, voted against hiring a new employee. Supervisors Watson, Joy Brotherton, District 4, and Steve Moss, District 5, voted in favor.

"I voted against this, and I'm not happy with what has happened," said Angius when contacted Wednesday about Lingenfelter's hire. "I didn't see this as being a position created for someone. And I think what we're doing is a big mistake."

But Watson said Wednesday that the Board did not choose Lingenfelter before the vote and the position was not opened specifically for him.

Watson said he is very pleased that Lingenfelter was offered the job by Hendrix and quickly accepted it.

Lingenfelter has spent more than a dozen years working in the public sector, including stints as the economic and procurement director for Mohave County and as the executive director of the Mohave Educational Services Cooperative. He graduated with a degree in American political studies from Northern Arizona University and obtained a master's degree in public administration from Norwich University in Northfield, Vt.

"I do know in my experience with Travis that he is exceptionally bright and motivated," said Watson. "We wanted someone who could do a variety of functions and do them very well. Travis would have been my first choice for that."

Hendrix said he, and not the Board, chose Lingenfelter for the position based on the job description he was asked to create. Hendrix said he knew the legislative session would begin in January and made the position temporary, which exempts the county from having to advertise, so it could be filled quickly.

Hendrix said he emailed the supervisors after Lingenfelter accepted the job so they would know he had found a qualified person.

"The best person I knew who could accomplish the tasks in this job description was Travis," said Hendrix. "He has tremendous talent, is local and knows county operations better than anyone. The decision was mine. I could have selected anyone for the position and I chose him."

Earlier, the Board discussed spending about $3,000 a month for a lobbyist to monitor legislative bills and activities.

The county had a lobbyist, Mike Williams & Associates of Phoenix, and paid $75,000 annually to the firm about 12 years ago, but hasn't had one since after the Board and the lobbyist disagreed on issues.

At both Board meetings, Johnson specified that the lobbyist would only monitor bills, not champion causes for the county.

Johnson said he doesn't believe anyone can tell what's going on in Phoenix and do a good enough job just by watching the Internet. He said bills change and are rewritten on an hourly basis during the heat of the session and that information is only discussed in the hallways, which means a lobbyist must be there in person each day.

Several Phoenix lobbying firms submitted proposals to the Board before the meeting, asking fees of $30,000 to $50,000 for services during the legislative session, and another firm requested more information so it could customize a quote.

The potential hiring of Lingenfelter was a rumor Johnson had heard before the Board's vote, but he said the other supervisors who supported the position had not shared the idea with him.

Johnson noted Lingenfelter would have his work cut out for him as he steps into the new job Johnson still believes was created especially for Lingenfelter.

"I'm not surprised about him getting this job and I figured it was coming," said Johnson. "The other supervisors got the votes to create the position and that's the beauty of a democracy. I'm not mad about it. You do get disappointed when a good idea you've had doesn't come out the way you envisioned it, but that's politics."

Lingenfelter recently applied for the job of city manager for Kingman and was one of three applicants out of 13 semifinalists to be considered. The resident was passed over in November by the Kingman City Council, which voted unanimously for John Dougherty of Reedsburg, Wis.

When that occurred, Brotherton publicly expressed her disappointment that the Council didn't choose Lingenfelter, especially since he is local.

Brotherton said she worked with Lingenfelter several times when he was a county employee and was always impressed with his talent. Brotherton said when she found out he was running for the city manager's position, she emailed all of the Council members to tell them that he would make a wonderful choice.

Lingenfelter, 38, said he can hear the conspiracy theorists who will claim he was given the job because the supervisors felt sorry for him after he lost the competition for city manager.

He laughed and said that situation took place several months ago and is over with, and he is ready to move on with his life and future.

He currently is a partner in Lingenfelter Investments, where he manages a real estate investment portfolio.

"I was doing my own thing and was satisfied with it when I got a call Tuesday from Mike Hendrix," said Lingenfelter. "The county was good to me while I was there and I am happy to help it out again. I'd like to think that since I am Mike's sole choice, he believes I am up to the challenge of this position.

"I'm familiar with the legislature and have done some lobbying, and I have enough perspective and historical context to do a good job with these upcoming special projects."

ICT - Mohave Electric WI_Power Boy 233x388
Related Stories:
• Position opens up on Mohave Community College board
• Lobbyist proposal turns into new Mohave County employee
• Does Mohave County need a lobbyist?

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 23, 2013
Article comment by: Forest for The Trees

Looking at all of the comments it looks as if you all are looking at the BOS decision as just hiring a Good Ol Boy. While this is true it also shows the infighting of the BOS. Johnson wanted his guy out of Phoenix, the Kingman centric Supervisors wanted their pal so they set it up with their guy Hendrix to put the fix in. It didn't matter whether the position was needed it was all about the Kingman bullies ganging up on the Havasu guy. Hildy was just a bystander in a BOS internal spat that again will cost the taxpayer a bunch. $ 40k, a car, office and all the golf, lunch, dinner,and gifts he can buy. An expense account of public record (I doubt it).

Posted: Monday, December 23, 2013
Article comment by: Dean Wolslagel

This issue on this hiring is just another reason we need to remove the old boy network from power. It looks as if the GOP has hired its biggest fan surprise the persons family has been the largest GOP political money donors in Mohave for years. If they had advertised the position like normal it would have been ok but this was a political payback in my opinion.

Posted: Monday, December 23, 2013
Article comment by: Education is not a liability

We need younger, intelligent, prepared professionals to be the leaders in our communities. In case you haven't looked around lately, our younger professionals are leaving for pastures greener than Kingman. While the town continues to whither away.
An exodus of younger professionals, low education and unemployment prospects. A high proportion of folks that rely on transfer payments living right on the edge. A recipe for a toxic community.

Posted: Saturday, December 21, 2013
Article comment by: joker wilde

If it wasn't really a set up it sure looks that way.

Posted: Saturday, December 21, 2013
Article comment by: Scott Farkus

I am surprised that according to the article "The job includes office space but no benefits". How is this possible under Obama-care? Aren't all full-time employees mandated to have coverage with an organization of this size?
Honest question.

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: Concerned Citizen

I really don't think most of you citizens get it!? They didn't ask for permission, and they don't need it!
This is how your government keeps growing, and growing, and growing, isn't it?

And to think, not a democrat in sight either.
Don't you just love it?

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: The unmentioned confusing aspect

Why does travis allow himself to be placed in obviously controversial situations? The 40K is a measly amount to him and unnecessary for a continued comfortable living. Is he ultimately seeking power or simply wants to do something positive for local residents? I would think more daily involvement at the center that bares the good family name would be most personally rewarding and uplifting to the staff and those being cared for at the facility. That would obviously erase any unkind assumptions that seem to plague his efforts of service to the community.

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

I saw some on line advertisements from New York, offering 10 years of tax free benefits if any business moves to that state, now that is a idea cost nothing since if the business did not move there where ever they had their business was getting them taxes, now any business will use water, buy materials, hire workers is the key thing, bring in workers maybe with them who will buy houses, rent apartments, buy goods and services locally a win win situation! No lobbyist needed for this idea just run some ads in some high tax localities and let nature take its course!

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

Lobbyist? $40,000 for what? Will this fellow bring business, jobs to the county? I doubt it, one ought to ask whose bright idea this was and who is spending tax payer monies to give this fellow a job to do what?

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

"Y'all get ready now, hear?"

Jeez's been 3+ years of hearing the same thing over and over. Still no indictments or lawsuit, not even charges. How long is this going to go on?

And who is Dougherty? Someone in your new town?

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: Worker Bee

Must be nice to be making $40 thou a year! The rest of us scrape by and are ready to live on the streets! Way to go BOS!!!
Maybe next meeting you can all give yourself raises, drop our insurance so we can sleep under our desks!

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: Kingman Lifer

I know none of these comments will have affect on these supervisors and county manager I agree with everyone of these comments about this scheme. Brotherton, Watson and Moss should be recalled. These supervisors promised, even swore that they were bringing a new era to our county. Have they? Brotherton is just another Ron Walker. What is disappointing here is Moss! I think everyone had some hope with Moss now that is gone. Watson has always been a disappointment. The supervisors for Kingman as always betray everyone to help the good old boys! This act demonstrates why Mohave County is so poorly thought of. Our supervisors are directly responsible for this poor image as long they get their ways that’s all that is important.

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: Fed up

" I'm familiar with the legislature and have done some lobbying" ? Are you kidding? This is the background and experience required to fill the position? With all this experience, he should be able to run for President next election! Well, of course Hendrix personally appointed him. He never would have been hired for the position if he had to actually be interviewed for it. Shades of Ron Walker! Hendrix is just a Walker clone!

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: My 2 Cents

Oh stop the conspiracy theory and trash talking the cost. Hendrix retires in a year or so. So for all you aspirants out there. Guess what?

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: Take My Money Please

I'm sure he's qualified, look at his past successes, he was only 2 years behind schedule and $2 Million over budget building the County Jail. I'm sure he'll do just as good of a job getting Grace Neal Parkway done with the taxpayer dollars. No conflict there.

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: Over Worked

Its too bad that the supervisors do not have office staff that could help them track the legislature issues. Wait, they all do have office assistants. They must be too busy.

Its to bad that the county manager does not have office staff to help track the legislature issues. Wait, he does have assistants. Probably really busy too.

Its too bad that the county does not have anyone on staff to handle environmental issues. Wait, they just created a new managerial position for environmental issues....and they have an entire environmental health department.

So that leaves property management and special projects which I guess means he will be a janitor and I am afraid to ask what the heck the special projects are.

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013
Article comment by: doug heard

If that job is needed then it should be a dollar a year job.

Stupid idea, unneeded, and stealing from the tax payers

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013
Article comment by: H Q

Brothernton & Watson along with the rest of the ol' boy's think they can run "our" County as they like while we the taxpayers pay the bill. No more not with my tax dollars! Let the recall begin!

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013
Article comment by: your majesties .....

I wonder if the Irishman (Mr. Dougherty, the next Mayor) has anything to worry about. Considering what Kingman is capable of doing, he could be out on his ear on criminal charges just in time for Lingenfelter to step into a rigged hastily-called mayoral appointment. (to you criminals - I decided not to go away with tail between legs, and all that that involves. Y'all get ready now, hear?)

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013
Article comment by: Not Surprised

I'm not the least bit surprised! How many of you either didn't see it coming or are surprised that this happen? Just one more reason I am taking my business, my family, and myself out of this back wood, good ole boy town. This town doesn't deserve to grow until it can mature.

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013
Article comment by: Mohave County Resident

Congradulations Travis Lingenfelter, We know you will do a great job. Having seen some of your previous contributions to The Road Department, we
know you will look out for Mohave Counties interest, and keep the BOS advised on all upcoming bills that could effect our county.
For all of you that don't think before you write you should read up on some of the things Travis has done for us before you complain. He has great passion for his work, Mohave County and will do us proud. I am sick of the Good old boys, comments. That is so uncalled for.
Joy Brotherton, is my district supervisor, she is an honest, tell it like it is person..GROW UP PEOPLE! Do you want our county to improve or not?

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013
Article comment by: Politics and the 3 Politicians Need to Go, Go, Go

Watson, we're not stupid. Of course the position was created for Travis. You need to keep Lingenfelter in good graces after disappointing him with the manager position.

For Lingenfelter it is a good thing - make good contacts for his future political endeavors and a good salary to do so.

For Gary Travis is secured and he's now able to feed you inside info on the money, connections, power plays, state grant moneys, etc.. This should help you unload your ice building, etc.

And the question remains - Do we really need to pay ANOTHER person to do the job we are paying Goodale and Gosar for.

Do you really think we are stupid enough to believe this position is for 6 months. You probably figured if you proposed spending $80,000 for what we last paid $75,000 for there would be a revolt. You figured correctly on that. We know and good o' Travis knows when June rolls around Gary and his 2 other merry men will vote to extend Travis' position for another 6 months. Thus, dumping 80 grand in to keeping an old friend close at hand.

Now Travis, you stayed above the fray when you didn't get the manager position. Don't ruin it now. We know that wonderful position of handling your father's properties is a way of buying time.. What is your degree in again?

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013
Article comment by: No One No Where

This was nothing but Brotherton maneuvering to get one of her favored families a cushy job on our, the taxpayers, backs. It's about time to start circulating the recall petition.

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013
Article comment by: Al DiCicco

Lingenfelter is already attacking "conspiracy theorists" ? Real nice start. Spending our tax money is fun and easy. I see this as a slap in the face of the community during a depression. Five Supervisors at $65,000 annually and State Reps and Senators can't do it? Senator Kelli Ward could teach all how to work hard and smart. I hope I am wrong and we see a return on this appointment, but I doubt it. Why wasn't the position put out for all the public to apply?

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013
Article comment by: Shaking my head

$40,000 for him to work 6 months. Yet, the board of supervisors has a difficult time deciding whether or not to give their current employees a raise. This gentleman will make more than a lot of the regular employees earn in a year and yet he'll only work 6 months.

Geez louise, good luck to the county employees that decide to stick around.

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