Mohave County fills risk manager position on 4-1 vote

KINGMAN - Mohave County finally filled its empty risk manager position after the Board of Supervisors promoted Robert Prince to the position during a special meeting Tuesday.

The Board voted 4-1 to place Prince in the position. District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson voted no.

Prince had been serving as the county's security coordinator.

The risk manager position has been empty since June, when the former risk manager, Richard Weldon, resigned after he was escorted from the County Administration Building in March 2012 and put on administrative leave.

County officials have declined to say why Weldon was put on leave, stating that the county does not discuss personnel matters.

Gene Hepler, the county's Office of Management and Budget director, has been running the department since Weldon left.

Mohave County Human Resource Director Ray Osuna said the county first posted the position in November. His office narrowed 27 applications down to three likely candidates. One candidate canceled her interview the day she was supposed to meet with Osuna and a second interviewee "did not do well in the interview," Osuna said.

That left Prince as the remaining qualified applicant, he said.

Johnson pointed out that Prince would be working in the same office as his wife, Peggy Prince, who is the Clerk of the Board.

"We've had problems in the past," Johnson warned.

"I would assume that's been looked at," said District 2 Supervisor Hildy Angius. There are a number of employees who have family members who also work for the county, she said.

"I don't see any conflict here. I know a few years ago there was a situation that the former Board didn't do anything about," Angius said, referring to Weldon's former position as risk manager and his wife's former position in the county's human resources department.

The situation caused a conflict because Weldon was in charge of identifying risks to the county, including those coming from employees. His wife, Chris Weldon, was in charge of employee benefits, including health benefits.

Mohave County Civil Attorney Bill Ekstrom said the only rule is that one family member could not hold a supervisory position over another family member.

District 5 Supervisor Steven Moss suggested changing the risk manager position from a classified to an unclassified position and requiring Prince to work with the county administrator, but report directly to the Board.

The risk manager currently reports to the county administrator.