Thursday, January 19, 2012
Condescending County Manager needs his employment terminated
Butch Meriwether
Butch's Brew
Mohave County Manager Ron Walker

I was toying with the options available to me on how I should tackle this commentary in regard to the current "higher than mighty" attitude displayed by a certain Mohave County official.

Mohave County Manager Ron Walker's modus operandi is to be condescending toward residents who question his motives and/or procedures. Examples that have caused a firestorm of complaints are his reference to Hildy Angius' appearance at the Nov. 14 BOS meeting as having the political resemblance of a Jerry Springer Show, the library annex lease debacle, possible unnecessary uncontrolled spending, and possible favoritism within the county.

I considered slowly trekking into the meat of the subject so the readers could take time to digest the information in order for them to form their own opinions and/or for me to jump immediately into the infectious quagmire of the county's current direction that I believe is spiraling out of control.

In the end, however, I decided to shoot from the hip like a sheriff facing down an outlaw in a dusty street of the Wild West. You know those days. If someone did something illegal, they were immediately hunted down by the local constable and shot, or they were captured and received a speedy trial in front of Judge Roy Bean and they were then immediately hanged.

Ron Walker "spoke with a forked tongue" when he stated during the Jan. 10 BOS meeting, in which he read his five-page rant into the record, while injecting various editorial comments not included in the original letter for his self-gratification. He stated that his assistant, Yvonne Orr, didn't participate in, or take any action to influence the contract negotiations in any manner. If he's so arrogant to believe this, then he doesn't understand the fundamental concept of sitting across the kitchen table in the morning with your husband and/or wife for coffee, discussing the financial gains of their corporation. I don't know about the married members of ORB Investments, but I would discuss over morning coffee the benefits of what I would receive from lease endeavors they were either currently involved in or will be involved in, since the BOS approved the lease agreement between ORB Investments and the County during their January meeting.

Can anyone tell me how dim-witted Walker believes we citizens of Mohave County are?

Walker was also remiss in disclosing that he assigned new responsibilities to Orr in April 2009. She was named coordinator for the Mohave County Library District. Was this an honest mistake by Walker, or did he purposely leave out the fact when he told the residents in attendance at the BOS monthly meeting? Basically what that means, in layman's terms, is that Orr is in charge of the Mohave County Library District and those personnel who run the library and negotiate on behalf of the library fall under her guidance, direction and her control.

I consider Walker's unprovoked attack on a citizen and a sitting county supervisor in his five-page rant dated Nov. 18, and also when he read his letter into the record at the Jan. 10 BOS meeting, as being borderline insubordination, and he should have been immediately fired for his out of control personal attacks on citizens of this county. Just a few comments Walker made about Hildy Angius included, "… she demonstrates her fundamental ignorance … she does not understand legalities, can't do arithmetic … and political resemblance of a Jerry Springer Show." As for comments about Supervisor Watson made by Walker in the letter and during the meeting, he said in part, "... I believe staff is being asked, in public, by Supervisor Watson to take an action solely for political reasons ... staff mistakenly assumed, after almost three years, the Supervisor understood fundamental procurement policy ... I am duty bound to personally decline to direct County staff to reopen negations (in regard to the library annex lease) ..."

I would say the only reason he wasn't immediately fired was because Supervisor Gary Watson knew he couldn't get one of the other two supervisors, who seem to always be in Walker's pocket or under his thumb, to agree to his employment termination. The supervisors have quickly forgotten Walker works for them; it isn't the other way around.

I do not say this because I'm a Republican, Democrat or an Independent, and I am not looking for free political publicity. Everyone should be aware by now that I am not running for any political office. I am not a campaign manager for any incumbent running for re-election or for any person currently running for an elected office. What I am is a Mohave County resident who is concerned about how some county officials have publically demeaned residents and about how the county continually approves unnecessary expenditures. I want the degrading behavior by county officials toward residents stopped. I especially want the unchecked and sometimes unnecessary spending of the county's resources halted.

Walker has become an embarrassment to the residents, and many believe the county manager is the sole justification for Arizonans and others who happen to read stories about what is occurring here to think Mohave County is the Comedy Central of Arizona. If you want a good chuckle to start your day off right, then pick up just about any newspaper or turn on the radio. There will probably be a story about the "comedy of error adventures" of Mohave County.

Walker's latest attack and misnomers that went public aren't the first time Walker penned an attack against citizens of this county. And some of those prior personal attacks that verge on libel will ultimately cost the county thousands if not millions of dollars in legal fees and damage awards. No, I am not going to mention the various names involved in Walker's prior vicious verbal and written attacks, because I believe most all know the circumstances of those events.

His latest over-the-top and outrageous attacks against Hildy Angius, who is running for District 2 Supervisor, and Supervisor Watson in the five-page rant and in front of the Jan. 10 BOS meeting are prime examples of Walker's arrogance and unchecked behavior as a County official who is running amok. He is dead wrong about Angius or her campaign manager originally asking Watson to pull the library annex item from the November consent agenda. I was the person who originally spoke with Watson and asked him to pull the item in November 2011. I had originally planned on speaking in front of the BOS on the proposed annex lease, but when I learned there where others prepared to speak about the same item, I thought my speaking would be redundant. I believed the other speakers would echo my feelings and sentiments about the county leasing buildings when there is more than adequate space available in county-owned buildings to house the facilities.

During the January BOS meeting, I informed supervisors Buster Johnson and Tom Sockwell, the residents in attendance at the BOS meeting, and especially Walker, that I was the person who requested the library annex lease consent agenda item to be pulled. When Walker heard this, he acted like it was not a big deal that he was wrong in his five-page rant.

I honestly believe this latest round of personal attacks by Walker upon citizens of this county should be cause for his employment to be terminated. I understand that if his employment is terminated, he will receive his "golden parachute" for one year. And folks, this may have been Walker's plan all along, since Johnson and Sockwell voted last year to extend Walker's contract for another year in order for him to have adequate time employed with the county to retire. Supervisor Watson voted against Walker's contract extension.

If the BOS decided to terminate Walker's employment, they would not have to put someone immediately into the county manager's position. Allow the four deputy county managers to honcho their respective areas of responsibility, and have the BOS function as the overseers of the overall operations until the new supervisors assume their duties in January 2013. Then the new BOS could either promote someone from within the county or hire someone from outside.

There needs to be a true transparency of operations within Mohave County government and a disclosure of what it is doing without any hint of impropriety. Remember that if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck!

If the current supervisors truly want represent the needs and desires of all Mohave County residents, but do not want to step out on the proverbial limb of terminating Walker's employment, they have another viable option available to them. They could temporarily change the responsibilities of the county manager and diminish Walker's responsibilities to a bucket and mop and designate his area of responsibility to the lobby of the county's administration building. Besides that, take away his plush office space, take away his administrative assistant and secretary he currently enjoys. Walker would then not have the means to cause irreversible monetary impact/damage to the county by individuals suing for his actions. That is unless Walker leaves a wet spot on the floor for someone to slip on.

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