Mohave Board takes steps to ensure control

KINGMAN - After taking a figurative hatchet to the former county administrator's contract, the Board of Supervisors took a more precise approach Monday, carving out some of the authority the position held over county employees and elected officials.

The Board held a workshop Monday to discuss the revisions, which were mostly minor.

However, the Board's changes made it very clear that the county administrator was subordinate to the Board.

The previous county administrator, Ron Walker, caused a considerable amount of controversy in the way he handled the duties of his position.

Several members of the public accused him of overstepping his authority by writing policies that prohibited the public from carrying weapons on county property and a dress code that banned people from wearing hats during the Board of Supervisor's meetings.

He also installed security cameras in each department and a walk-thru metal detector in the lobby of the County Administration Building.

All employees and elected officials had to speak with him before going to the Board of Supervisors with a complaint or request.

The three new supervisors to the Board - Hildy Angius, Joy Brotherton and Steven Moss - all campaigned on a platform that would remove some of Walker's policies and limit the authority of the county administrator's position.

The changes include:

• Making sure the county has in writing that the position is subordinate to the Board of Supervisors.

• Requiring Board approval of all new policies proposed by the county administrator.

• Removing the phrase, "how to accomplish the work is left to the judgment of the employee."

• The Board has the final say on the hiring, disciplining or firing of any unclassified employee or department head.

• Removing a clause stating that all elected officials and department heads must go through the county administrator's office before coming to a member of the Board.

• Prohibiting the county administrator from expressing an opinion on "matters of a political nature."

"It was designed to emphasize the authority of the Board and to remove any suggestion that might limit the authority of the Board," Moss said. "I want the Board to be more hands-on."

Brotherton and Angius said they didn't have any problem with the revisions.

Brotherton asked County Administrator Mike Hendrix if he agreed to the changes.

"I've read through it and I believe I know the intent of the Board. I have no objections with it," Hendrix said.

His only concern was that any employee brought before the Board for a disciplinary matter be allowed to request the matter be heard in an executive session.

Deputy County Civil Attorney Bill Ekstrom pointed out that all employee matters are handled in executive sessions, unless the employee specifically requests a public hearing.