Johnson wants Mohave County supervisors to meet less often

Angius voices reservations to savings claim

Buster Johnson and Hildy Angius

Buster Johnson and Hildy Angius

Mohave County Board of Supervisors will discuss holding meetings once a month at Tuesday’s meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the County Administrative Building, 700 W. Beale St.

The agenda item was introduced by Supervisor Hildy Angius who said that she wants her colleague, Supervisor Buster Johnson, to prove that by abandoning a twice-a-month meeting it will save the county $500,000 annually.

This claim was made in Johnson’s January newsletter.

“I was shocked to read that we can save this much a year, shocked,” Angius said. “I called county administration and I didn’t get that information. If Supervisor Johnson can prove to everyone that this is a true number, and if he can quantify it, I would consider it.”

Angius questions why Johnson has never brought the topic before the board and feels compelled to force her colleague’s hand to do so on Tuesday.

“For me, it’s put up or shut up,” Angius said.

In 2013, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors voted to hold meetings twice a month. According to Johnson, the justification was to allow more public participation and avoid lengthy meetings.

There was a downside to monthly meetings, Angius said.

“If you didn’t get your items on the agenda you had to wait an entire month before you could submit the paperwork … or for constituents with agenda items to speak before the board,” she said. “Twice-a-month meetings was one of the first things we did as a new board, and I never knew it was a problem until I read his newsletter.”

Angius said she recalls a monthly budget meeting that lasted eight hours that ended with fatigued board members.

“At the end of that meeting we were so tired we were making bad decisions,” she said. “It was the end of the day, and when you want to hurry things up that’s when you make mistakes.”

Angius added that if she knew the county would save $500,000 annual from monthly meetings she would be “screaming from the roof tops” for a change.

“I would convince everyone we had to do this,” Angius said. “But, Supervisor Johnson has to back up his words. I want him just to defend what he wrote.”

Johnson stands by his claim that a move to monthly meetings will save the county money.

“We task people to perform a service,” he said. “Our department heads are spending double the time sitting in meetings for no reason. We’ve done once a month before and somehow it worked. The good thing was that it made people work together to get things done.”

County administration could not comment on Johnson’s claims of cost savings, but added whatever the board’s vote is on Tuesday, they will accommodate the directive.

“We work for them and it’s not up to us, it’s up to the board,” said Michael Hendrix, county manager. “There are pros and cons on both sides of how we do business, but my position is that the board has to count to three for a majority vote. I do not vote, and I’m not going to take sides between the supervisors.”

In Arizona, only Apache County conducts monthly board meetings.

Other items of interest on the agenda:

  1. Approve and complete the sale of Arnold Plaza at 315 Oak St. to the Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council for $58,500. The sale is in accordance with a purchase agreement that would allow JAVC to renovate Arnold Plaza into a transitional home and resource center for at-risk veterans. The sale was to be finalized upon completion of asbestos abatement and removal of lead-based paint, which is now complete except for the building’s roof. Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has confirmed it will provide a grant to JAVC for asbestos abatement in roofing materials.

  2. Authorize Public Works Director Steve Latoski to issue a special event permit to Marnell Gaming for the 2018 River Regatta, contingent upon Marnell meeting policy requirements for the event. Marnell will pay $75,000 to Mohave County Parks for the use of Davis Camp from Aug. 8-13, which includes a two-day cleanup period. Bullhead City Council had voted to cancel the event last year after the park was trashed by some 30,000 people who participate in the River Regatta.

  3. Acknowledge receipt of a petition to bring about a half mile of south Escuela Road from Abrigo Drive to Redwall Drive in the Golden Valley area into the Mohave County road system for regular maintenance. A similar petition requests about 1 mile of Chuar Drive from Ganado Road to Guthrie Road, and about a half mile of Granville Road from Chuar Road to Bolsa Drive, also in Golden Valley, be accepted for county road maintenance.

  4. On the consent agenda, approve creation of a new fund and one deputy probation officer at an annual salary of $53,750 and employee-related expenses up to $18,850 for 2018, and approve the intergovernmental agreement with City of Kingman for a specialized court program through Kingman Justice Court, which will renew annually on Dec. 1 for one year.

– Daily Miner reporter Hubble Ray Smith contributed to this report