Al Pacino's "Godfather" character, Michael Corleone, is quoted often saying, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." Here I am, days away from leaving office, and I feel like I am being pulled back in to deal with the political maneuvering of Mohave County's own Godfather, Buster Johnson.
During the last Board of Supervisors meeting, Dec. 15, we took action on agenda item 43, to approve a minor tweaking to the "County Administrative Procedure 11-1, Classification, Compensation, and Benefits and Leave Plans."
Supervisor Johnson complained that he hadn't had time to read the plan, which was false in that we all had several days to go over it prior to the meeting, and that he wanted it delayed. Not getting his way, Buster stormed off before we even voted.
Now I find that Buster has asked for an agenda item on the Jan. 12 meeting to call for a "Special Workshop to discuss employee benefits." He didn't vote on the issue and, if he had, he would have voted "no."
Therefore, he doesn't have the legal right to call for a reconsideration. As chairman of the Board, I can, but I won't.
Every year for the last eight years that I have been here, we have had a series of budget workshops. Supervisor Johnson didn't attend a single one of them. When it came time to approve our budgets, I can remember him only voting yes on one tentative budget. He didn't approve a single final budget during those eight years.
Now he is calling for a workshop the minute I am walking out the door.
The only reason he is doing that is to begin the destruction of everything we have built over the last two terms. He lost the vote during the last meeting, and he is trying to break the rules and bring it back. My answer is "no." I won't put his unethical reconsideration on the agenda. He had his chance to vote on it last time and he walked out just as he has walked out prior to all budget workshops.
Johnson shows his disdain for the county staff today as he has for many years. When I came here, the county employee morale was terrible. The turnover rate was 44 percent in some areas. County employees were subject to his political harassment. Then County Manager Ron Walker put together a business plan. We stuck to that plan, got rid of Buster's good-old-boy, out-house economic development agency that had been run by a convicted felon, paid off the debts incurred by the prior Board and improved county services and staff employee morale.
This may be the last thing I do as chairman, but I am not going to let this guy, who was responsible for breaking the county in the late 1990s, begin destroying everything right off the bat on the first meeting of the new year. The very issues he wants to raise will be on the table during the next Fiscal Year Budget Workshops. And I am sure the two other supervisors will attend those workshops and handle that procedure smoothly.
Buster Johnson is a very smart guy. He is very good at organizing his political base and gathering people who figuratively line up to kiss his ring. He is also quite effective at meddling in other supervisors' districts. I just find it a shame that he has never used his brains or energy to do something positive for Mohave County residents.