Mohave supervisors pick contract option for administrator

Hendrix says move will save county money

KINGMAN - Mohave County administrator Mike Hendrix will retire at the end of the year and come back on a contract basis with Educational Services Inc. rather than get a $10,000 increase in salary to continue his current contract.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Monday to accept the contract proposal from Hendrix, who also serves as county engineer.

Hendrix presented the board with alternative proposals as was directed at the Nov. 17 board meeting.

Hendrix's accepted proposal has him retiring Dec. 31 and entering into contract employment with the county through Educational Services Inc. at his current salary of $147,000.

The total cost to the county would be $160,690, plus the county would pay the Arizona State Retirement System alternate contribution rate of 9.57 percent for a total of $176,000, which is about a $10,700 savings from the current payment.

"This is my preferred option for a couple of reasons," Hendrix told the Daily Miner. "I'm at a point in life where I can retire. Also, I'd be working for the county at the exact same salary. That's a blessing in itself. The only difference is I'll pay my own insurance and save the county $10,000. I think it's the best of both worlds."

Chairwoman Hildy Angius, who joined Supervisor Steve Moss in voting against the employment contract, said Hendrix is doing a good job as both county administrator and county engineer and he deserves a raised based on his merit.

However, she doesn't like the idea of someone getting paid by a government entity while taking retirement from the county.

"Having this leaving and retiring and coming back on contract ... I'm philosophically against it," Angius said. "That's why the retirement system is going broke and it's not just Arizona. Cities across the country are going bankrupt. This is something that has to be addressed."

His other proposal called for him staying on as county administrator and receiving a 6.8 percent raise that would take his annual salary to $157,500.

With benefits, total compensation would be about $198,000. A cap would have been placed on paid time off eligible for payout upon severance of 1,000 hours.

The terms of the agreement would have been from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2015, with opportunities for renewal.

The county has budgeted $30,000 in a general account for unanticipated supervisors' travel expenses. That account has been overfunded and underutilized, Hendrix said. The board could have used a portion of this fund to pay for the salary increase. Otherwise, it must come from contingencies in various budgets currently funding the position.

Hendrix submitted a salary comparison among county managers in Arizona that showed his salary would be in line with other counties of similar population.

Yuma County (pop. 195,751) pays $173,349; Yavapai County (pop. 211,033) pays $158,458; and Coconino County (pop. 134,421) pays $163,000.