Mohave County employee ethics law proposed

Rule criminalizes lying or fudging facts at meetings

KINGMAN - Mohave County Supervisors Steven Moss and Hildy Angius have items on Monday's Board agenda that deal with employee ethics.

Moss wants the Board of Supervisors to set a June 3 public hearing to consider an ordinance making it a misdemeanor for an employee to knowingly lie to or withhold information from the Board in order to influence a vote.

Moss said he had a few experiences during his days serving on the high school board for Mohave Valley where an employee or two had lied to the school board.

"This is one more step to make the county more transparent," Moss said.

Moss said his ordinance would be limited to employees who lied directly to the Board in an open meeting.

"I just want to make sure the Board gets good, honest, open information," he said.

The county's employee merit rules cover situations like this, Moss said, but most employees who speak before the Board are unclassified and are not covered by the merit rules.

The Board can fire an unclassified employee, but Moss wants to add a criminal punishment to discourage these types of situations. What the criminal punishment would include - a fine or imprisonment - would be up to a judge, he said.

He's also requesting the Board discuss the county's compliance with state statutes dealing with the recording of the Board's meeting minutes.

"This is me asking staff questions," Moss said. He has received complaints that the county was not following state statutes by posting the minutes within 72 hours of the meeting and the county's warrants, or list of payments, were not attached to the minutes.

Moss said he feels the county is following state statutes regarding the posting of minutes because video and audio recordings are considered minutes under the law.

However, he wants an official answer from staff on the question.

Angius wants the Board to consider building an employee ethics handbook.

"I believe every organization should have something like this," she said. "It gives employees an idea of what we expect from them."

Angius agreed that the county's merit rules cover some of the issues that would be covered by an ethics handbook, but a separate handbook would make it easier for employees to understand, she said.

"And just by having it shows that we really do care about this," Angius said.

The Board will also consider:

• A request from District 4 Supervisor Joy Brotherton to lift the county's moratorium on accepting new roads into the county's maintenance schedule. The county announced the moratorium in 2011 after the state reduced the amount of Highway User Revenue Funds to the county from $10.5 million to $9.3 million. This year the county is supposed to get $9.9 million.

• A request from District 1 Supervisor Gary Watson to add three roads - Santa Fe Drive, Finance Way and Shipping Lane - in the Kingman Airport and Industrial Park to the county's highway system.

• A request from Watson to give the Mohave County Fairgrounds Association $50,000 to repair the rodeo arena.

• A request to enter an agreement with Mojave Desert Minerals to help pay for road repairs to nearly three miles of road on Oatman Highway. The increased truck traffic from the mine has accelerated wear and tear on the road, according to the Mohave County Public Works Department.

• Writing a letter of concern to the Bureau of Land Management about the Ray Land Exchange. The mining company ASARCO, wants to swap 7,034 acres of private land for more than 10,000 acres of land managed by the BLM. The county is opposing the land swap because it would mean removing more than 6,000 acres of land from the county's tax rolls.

The Board meets at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St.