KINGMAN - For the second time in eight months, the City Council has looked to Oklahoma to fill a major vacancy in the city.
Jeffrey Singer, a special district judge in Poteau, Okla., was extended an offer to replace longtime City Magistrate Kathy McCoy, who will retire at the end of the month after about three decades as Kingman's municipal judge.
The Council voted 6-0 - Councilman Larry Carver did not attend Friday's special meeting - to offer Singer the job after a series of interviews. Singer got the nod over a pair of Mohave County deputy attorneys, Doug Camacho and James Schoppmann.
According to a statement from the city, Singer officially won't become the city's judge until an employment contract is signed. A subcommittee of Council members will work with Singer in the hopes of bringing his contract to the full Council for ratification when it next meets June 16. Those negotiations began Tuesday afternoon and Singer doesn't anticipate any problems. He hopes the talks can get wrapped up quickly.
"We're very excited," said Singer in an interview Tuesday morning. And while he lives in Oklahoma, Singer is no stranger to Kingman.
"I spent my childhood summers in Kingman," said Singer. "My grandparents lived there and I fell in love with it. It's like I've come full circle."
The Council several weeks ago elected to make it mandatory that McCoy's replacement be a licensed attorney. They set a wide annual salary range of between $85,000 and $111,000. The latter figure is what the average municipal judge, who is an attorney, earns in other Arizona communities the size of Kingman. The magistrate is one of three contract positions in Kingman. The others are City Manager John Dougherty and City Attorney Carl Cooper.
Singer has worked as a special district judge for the state of Oklahoma for the past five years. Prior to that he was an assistant district attorney for the state. He also worked in private practice and has served as a municipal judge for a number of Oklahoma communities.
He is a member of both the Oklahoma and Arizona bar associations and obtained his juris doctorate from the University of Tulsa.
Singer is the second Oklahoman the Council has tapped to lead a department in eight months.
Fire Chief Jake Rhoades, of Edmond, Okla., was chosen to replace longtime chief Chuck Osterman, who retired at the end of 2014 after nearly four decades with the KFD.
Singer owns property in Valle Vista, where he hopes to build a home at some point in the distant future. Singer is married to Brandy and is the father of 5-year-old Madalynn. "She's going to start kindergarten in Kingman," he said. "She's very excited about that."
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