KINGMAN – The jobs of economic development director and public information officer for Mohave County should be separate with an emphasis on economic development, the Board of Supervisors decided at Monday’s meeting.
Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve the detailed job description drawn up by County Manager Mike Hendrix, and authorized him to place an advertisement for economic development director.
There was discussion about whether the person would report to the county manager or to the director of development services, which was the department over former economic development director Bennett Bratley.
Supervisor Buster Johnson cast the dissenting vote because he felt the county manager should bring a “vision” for economic development in Mohave County to the board prior to the vote.
He was also against hiring a public information officer who would act as a liaison at the state Legislature and be the central point of communication for the county.
“Right now we have a bill of $12,000 a month we’re paying for a lobbyist on our water,” Johnson said. “I know all of us weigh in on legislation that affects the county, so I don’t see the need for somebody else going down (to Phoenix) who might not be able to represent the board or take the time to bring items to the board so the board as a whole can give them directions.”
Hendrix recognized that he brought a “mammoth” job description to the board and said he tried to cover every base. He’s been filling in as economic development director and didn’t have a “grasp” of the day-to-day operations.
“They ask everything. They expect me to be a Realtor, knowledgeable about the water, gas and power, find a property for them. The amount of work is incredible,” Hendrix said. “And I’m not going after companies, they’re coming after us.”
Supervisor Lois Wakimoto noted that cities have their own economic development directors, but District 5 is all county.
Mohave Valley is on the “cusp of economic development right now,” and it’s important to have someone focused on those areas that are being looked at for development, she said.
Ron Gould, a former state senator who was elected District 5 Supervisor in August, said the board is looking for a “bureaucratic Superman” to do both jobs, and the $80,000 to $120,000 salary range would be better spent on hiring more deputies for Mohave County Sheriff’s Office or new drivers for road graders.
“We don’t need a public mouthpiece to speak for us. You can speak for yourselves,” he told the board.
Angius replied that the PIO would not be a spokesman for the board, as the past PIO had become “too political,” but the county needs to do a better job of getting information to the public.
“I don’t see it as either/or, but if we only can do one in our budget, at this point, I’ve changed my mind a bit and I would go for economic development because that is the one that brings in the money,” she said.