5/20/2012 6:01:00 AM
Kingman Column: Walker dishes out more abuse
County manager won't go quietly into retirement
Ron Walker
Ron Walker

Butch Meriwether
Butch's Brew

Many of us were hoping it would be "smooth sailing and clear skies" until Dec. 31, when Mohave County Manager Ron Walker will unceremoniously depart the county's employment without causing anymore embarrassment. I guess you could say we are disappointed but not surprised.

Walker just doesn't seem to be able to keep from sticking his foot into his mouth.

Walker's latest vituperative commentary was released Wednesday, via the Mohave County official website, and was labeled, "Whining mayor washed up over flood control dollars." In his column, Walker unjustifiably attacked Bullhead City Mayor Jack Hakim, Bullhead City Council members Sheila Shutts and Sam Medrano, and county resident Steven Robinson. He even mentioned civil cases involving Councilman Medrano, a half-baked attempt by Walker to embarrass Medrano.

What is most incomprehensible is none of the three Mohave County Supervisors were aware of Walker's latest tirade until it was brought to their attention by various residents who had received an email from the county advising them the column was released to them and to the various media outlets.

Maybe I missed something, but I thought the county manager worked for the supervisors, not the other way around.

Supervisors Buster Johnson, Tom Sockwell and Gary Watson do not seem to be able to put a muzzle on the county manager's continued and prolonged outbursts of bitter, outspoken denunciation of residents. They just seem to allow him to "shoot from the hip" like an outlaw during the Wild West Days of Arizona.

It is time for the supervisors to finally step up to the plate, do as the residents want and put an end to the continual embarrassing, arrogant and condescending behavior of the county manager. No, I am not saying the BOS should terminate his employment because I honestly believe that is exactly what Walker wants. If his employment is terminated, he will receive a golden parachute that includes pay and benefits for one full year.

And this may have been Walker's plan all along. Since Supervisors Johnson and Sockwell voted last year to extend Walker's contract for another year (Supervisor Watson voted against Walker's contract extension) in order for him to have adequate time employed with the county to retire, Walker has been on the destructive path of condescending behavior.

Because dealing with the Walker situation will be deemed a "county employee matter," the supervisors should place an item on June's agenda and discuss the county manager during executive session.

And this, in my opinion, is what should be the outcome of the executive session. The BOS should place Walker on paid administrative leave and/or suspension until his impending retirement date. They should require him to be at home from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and that he must be available via his home telephone during normal business hours. They should instruct him that he is not allowed to speak on behalf or negotiate on behalf of the county during the administrative leave and/or suspension, and they should take away his county-owned vehicle since he will not be participating in any county business during the time he is at home.

Last but not least, Walker should be instructed to check in by telephone with the BOS chairman Mondays through Fridays during the time he has to stay home.

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