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Mon, Aug. 19

From retiring to consulting: Outgoing county Development Services Director becoming $66,000 consultant

Nick Hont, left, director of Mohave County Development Services, talks with an official from the Arizona Department of Water Resources during a December presentation. Hont is retiring and will be hired back as a contracted engineering consultant.
Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.

Nick Hont, left, director of Mohave County Development Services, talks with an official from the Arizona Department of Water Resources during a December presentation. Hont is retiring and will be hired back as a contracted engineering consultant.

KINGMAN – Mohave County Supervisor Hildy Angius understands that Nick Hont has done an “awesome” job as director of Development Services, and she’s truly sorry that he’s retiring in February.

She just doesn’t like the idea of him coming back as a consultant for $75 an hour.

She compared the situation to County Administrator Mike Hendrix, who retired and was contracted to continue in the role, which is commonly called “double dipping.”

Angius was the lone dissenter in the board’s 4-1 vote Tuesday to approve a contract with Mohave Educational Services Cooperative for Hont to serve as senior consulting engineer for up to $61,213 a year.

The county would also pay $5,767 into the Arizona State Retirement System.

Hont, who worked 16 years as Development Services director, has extensive experience in the area of water resources that other supervisors consider critical to Mohave County’s future projects.

“I believe this is in the best interest of Mohave County for two reasons,” said Supervisor Steve Moss, who noted that he voted against Hendrix’s contract for the same reasons enunciated by Angius.

“One, he’s helping with the transition and his successor needs the benefit of his wisdom. Two, the pending projects, specifically dealing with water, which Mr. Hont has already been working on. We need his technical expertise to shepherd us through this.”

Angius said it’s important to protect Mohave County’s water rights, and that’s why the county has hired a couple lawyers. But “double-dipping” is busting state budgets.

“California has a huge retirement issue, and one of the reasons they have that problem is people retire and come back,” Angius said.

Supervisor Jean Bishop said she has attended water workshops with presentations by Hont and was impressed with his expertise.

County supervisors have been focusing on the critical water issue for a couple of years now, and Hont has been looking at a retention plan that could add 5,000 to 7,000 acre-feet of water to the Hualapai Basin aquifer that serves Kingman.

Tim Walsh was appointed to replace Hont at the Dec. 19 board meeting.

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