Kingman ups the requirements for next city magistrate

Kathy McCoy

Kathy McCoy

KINGMAN - Unlike the woman who has held the judgeship for nearly three decades, the next magistrate of Kingman Municipal Court will have a law degree.

The City Council on Tuesday agreed they were unlikely to find another Kathy McCoy, who will retire effective June 30.

McCoy, they said, has been an exemplary judge despite the fact she doesn't have a juris doctorate.

The magistrate is one of three contract employees that report to and is hired by the City Council. City Manager John Dougherty and City Attorney Carl Cooper are the other two.

Human Resources Director Jackie Walker told Mayor Richard Anderson and the Council members that the existing job description cites minimum requirements that call for the candidate to at least have graduated from high school, taken supplemental college course in social science or public law, and be familiar with city ordinances, state traffic codes and juvenile law.

However, Walker said most cities in Arizona raised the minimum education requirement to a law degree, with few exceptions.

The Council was in agreement Kingman should do the same.

The magistrate signs a two-year contract with the city. McCoy's current salary is about $85,000, decidedly lower than what most magistrates make in similarly sized cities in Arizona.

The magistrates in Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City municipal courts earn $112,000 and $130,000, respectively.

The average salary for magistrates in city's the size of Kingman is more than $111,000, said Walker.

"We found someone who has been excellent 30 years ago," said Anderson, but he has concerns over the existing minimum requirements.

Walker said her goal would be to make the hire by June 5 with a June 29 start date.

The salary range will be from $85,000 to $111,000, based on experience.