Mohave County Board of Supervisors renew leader’s contract for one year
The Mohave County Board of Supervisors OK’d renewing County Administrator Michael Hendrix’s contract last week, keeping him on the job for another year.
Although Hendrix is now a contract employee with Scottsdale-based Educational Services Inc., he has had a long tenure as a Mohave County employee, coming on board more than 30 years ago as an engineer, moving through the ranks to become the county engineer and then county administrator.
In December 2014, the board voted 3-2 to allow Hendrix to retire as administrator but return to the same positon, along with remaining as county engineer, as a contract employee.
“I wanted to continue to work,” Hendrix said. “What this allowed me to do was to take advantage, under the rules, to pull my retirement and also gain salary from ESI.”
In a 4-0 vote, (with Supervisor Lois Wakimoto absent), the board agreed Monday to extend Hendrix’s contract.
The contract includes base salary of $147,500, fees and Social Security totaling $168,133. The county also will pay into Hendrix’s state retirement system account of $13,997 for a total compensation package of $182,130. The contract runs from Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018.
The county pays $5,900 annually to ESI in administrative fees.
The contract is paid for through 70 percent county administration fund, engineering 20 percent and 10 percent television improvement district funds.
When the contract arrangement with ESI was made three years ago, it saved the county approximately $8,000 annually over keeping Hendrix onboard as a government employee. According to county finance director Coral Loyd the contract still has a cost benefit savings of $5,713 verses hiring a county-employed administrator.
By remaining as the county administrator, Hendrix said he believes that continuity in government will benefit Mohave County.
“As long as I think I can make a difference, as long as I think I can contribute and enjoy my work, and who I work for, I will continue to work,” Hendrix said. “It’s about being part of a great organization … with outstanding directors and employees. I’ve got a great job.”
Looking forward, Hendrix said he is up to the task with the county facing water issues, a ever-tightening budget, lawsuits and unfunded liabilities, which are “challenges,” he said.
“As an engineer at heart, everything is a puzzle to me,” Hendrix said. “If there is a problem, it’s about finding a solution.”
Prior to Monday’s vote, Golden Valley resident Leanne Hoagland-Smith criticized the contract.
“The contract through ESI is a point of concern,” Hoagland-Smith said. “Given (Hendrix) current salary, (adding in) benefits, the retirement, the healthcare, the assigned car and a cellphone it all adds into an overall compensation (package) and the results aren’t delivered. I am at a loss as to why we are continuing the contract.”
“This salary is many times the average per capita income for Mohave County … under $22,000 annually,” Hoagland-Smith said.
Supervisor Jean Bishop came to Hendrix’s defense, saying the county administrator is working at a salary “much less” than his counterparts in similar size counties.