Mohave County stays in-house for new administrator

Mike Hendrix

Mike Hendrix

KINGMAN - Former Mohave County Public Works Director Mike Hendrix is the new Mohave County administrator.

The Board of Supervisors announced their unanimous decision Monday morning after interviewing Hendrix and one other finalist for the position, Bullhead City Vice Mayor Mark Clark. The Board went into two executive sessions so it could interview each candidate individually.

Golden Valley resident Steven Robinson asked the Board to table its decision in order to give the public time to comment on their choice. The Board declined Robinson's suggestion.

"This has been on the radio all week long. It's been in the news all week," District 4 Supervisor Joy Brotherton said.

"Where are the people?" she asked, gesturing to the nearly empty auditorium.

Eight people attended Monday's meeting.

"If they were really interested, they would be here."

Hendrix and Clark were at the top of the list of six finalists that were chosen by an independent review committee. The county received around 38 applications for the position from all over the county, County Human Resources Director Ray Osuna said.

The other four finalists were from out of state, said Board Chairman Gary Watson.

"We had a number of qualified candidates, but the two in-state candidates were far, far better qualified than the four we had from out of state," Watson said. "Mr. Clark had very good financial experience, but he didn't have the administrative experience."

Watson was appointed by the Board to negotiate a contract with Hendrix, who has been serving as the interim county administrator, since former County Manager Ron Walker left in December.

Clark is running for a second term on the Bullhead City Council this year. He has also served on as a general manager for Laughlin Ranch in Bullhead City and has a consulting firm, according to the Arizona Corporation Commission.

District 5 Supervisor Steven Moss said he voted for Hendrix because of how he has handled the rapid changes the Board has put the county administration through.

"He's done a good job and I don't want to unduly disrupt the county administration," Moss said.

He was also looking for someone who wouldn't undermine the Board, as he said the previous county manager did.

"Over the last few months, he really has proven himself," said Brotherton. "He's someone I felt really confident about presenting an honest, open relationship with the public."

Brotherton said she didn't go with an out-of-state candidate because "sometimes they're only interested in the job and the money. They have no commitment to the community. Mike's raised his children here. He has a commitment to the community. He has roots here."

The Board also discussed what changes it wanted to make to the county administrator's position during a workshop on Monday.

"I don't believe the old job description is adequate," Moss said. "I think it behooves the Board to take a look at this."

The current job description limited the Board's power over the county administrator too much, he said. Moss suggested having the Board work with Hendrix to define his duties.

"I had hoped for more public input," he said, glancing out at the nearly empty auditorium. District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson suggested it might be better if the Board worked with Osuna on the job description.

"I'd rather deal with Mr. Hendrix. I want to engage directly with him on his role as the county administrator," Moss said.

Johnson said that past attempts to negotiate job duties with county managers had not always turned out well.

District 2 Supervisor Hildy Angius suggested the Board use Yavapai County's county administrator job description as a jumping-off point.

"I have no problem using that as a skeleton," Moss said.

Watson suggested that the individual supervisors look over the Yavapai and Mohave county job descriptions and send suggestions for changes to the clerk of the Board. The Board could then discuss the suggestions during its first meeting in June. The Board approved the suggestion.

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