KINGMAN – After consideration and one failed motion regarding the compensation of Mohave County constables, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to keep constable salaries where they are now, with the exception of Michael Hoggard of the North Canyon Justice Precinct.
Supervisors were divided on whether or not changing the salaries of constables was acceptable, seeing as how candidates already put forth the effort to run for the office with an expectation of a particular salary. That expectation was given to them by the county.
“I have to say, I left pretty stunned to hear that the terms of which I thought I was getting involved could possibly change, and it made me think that if I had known that before, I might not have gotten into the race,” said Martin Stansberry, candidate for Lake Havasu City precinct constable.
Mike Cobb, Kingman precinct constable, told supervisors he doesn’t see Mohave County Finance Department’s formula for reducing salaries as an adequate representation of work done by constables. The department recommended salary reductions for the majority of the constables based on their number of serves.
However, Cobb says that is only a fraction of the equation. In his opinion, an adequate formula would take into account attempted serves and non-serves, distance traveled, risk factor of the serves and non-serves, and time spent completing the required paperwork, among other considerations.
“I urge you to not use this formula, and to approve the salaries as they have been for the past four years,” Cobb said.
Joe Archie, another candidate for Lake Havasu City constable, agreed with Cobb in that if salaries are to change, more factors should be considered.
Supervisor Hildy Angius (District 2 – Bullhead City) said that while she believes the position of constable to be “an antiquated position,” reducing salaries at this time after constables approached the board a few weeks ago and asked for a raise would be “petty and vindictive.”
“It looks like it’s a punishment for coming before us and asking for it. As Mr. Archie and the other gentleman said, they made their decisions to run based on information they were given from the county and to change it now I think would be wrong,” Angius said.
Lois Wakimoto (D5 – Fort Mohave) agreed.
“I believe that changing the pay right now at this point is not where we need to be,” she said. “We have people running for office with the understanding that this is the salary they were looking at, whether it’s the salary or not that motivated them to move on.”
However, not all supervisors agreed there is a negative connotation paired with reducing salaries during election time. Buster Johnson (D3 – Lake Havasu City) said he doesn’t view it as a punishment and noted that this is a typical process of review for the board.
Jean Bishop (D4 – Kingman) made a motion to reduce the salaries of constables in the Cerbat, Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City precincts, and to slightly raise Hoggard’s salary by about $1,000. That motion failed with Wakimoto, Johnson and Angius voting no.
Previously in the discussion, Angius asked Bishop if she believed she was overpaid while the constable of the Certbat Justice Precinct. Bishop believes that was the case, even though Bishop had at that time asked the board to be reimbursed for her mileage. Bishop then referred to the position as a “part-time job.”
However, the majority of supervisors were in agreement that Hoggard’s salary should be increased in light of his service.
“I think we should recommend that this board consider a small salary increase as a token of appreciation for his work up on the Arizona Strip,” Bishop said.
Bishop suggested raising Hoggard’s salary to $12,000 from about $11,000. Supervisor Gary Watson (D1 – Kingman) countered by suggesting a salary raise to $15,000.
The board voted 3-2, Johnson and Bishop voting against, to keep constable salaries at their current rates with the exception of Hoggard’s salary, which was raised to $15,000. Salaries of constables in the other precincts stayed at their current rates of $57,045.