Originally published Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 05:59a.m.

KINGMAN – Mechanics, welders and shop supervisors working in Mohave County Public Works fleet services are getting a 15.8 percent pay raise after being identified as “hot jobs.”

Also in the “hot jobs” category are an office specialist whose salary was stepped up to $22.09 an hour, and an office assistant now making $16.04 an hour.

Supervisor Hildy Angius of Bullhead City was the lone dissenter in the Mohave County Board of Supervisors’ 4-1 vote Monday to approve the salary increases.

She said the county was given authority to designate certain occupations as “hot jobs” because of inherent challenges to attract and retain qualified employees, but she didn’t think auto mechanics and technicians and certainly not office specialists were part of that group.

“I don’t think that this is what we meant to come out, a way to go back and give raises to people. That really wasn’t what I remember,” Angius said. “I do not think that was the original intent to do this outside of the budget like this.”

Angius said constituents have a problem with the way the county compares salaries with other jurisdictions, and this sends the wrong message to other county employees who want pay raises as well.

“Some jobs are difficult to recruit. They’re specialties, professionals and you have to pay to get people to move here and leave the job they’re in. I get that,” Angius said.

“Of all those things, I really don’t mean to be disrespectful, but to use that for mechanics and people who work on cars, unless there is something intrinsically different than all the vehicles we use in Mohave County, I think that’s really stretching what our intent was for hot jobs.”

County Administrator Mike Hendrix clarified that he had the flexibility to determine hot jobs, and that mechanics, technicians, welders, shop supervisors, equipment and parts managers are important behind-the-scenes workers that make sure the county can perform its services.

He pointed out that the salary raises would not increase the overall budget for Public Works, as the proposed raises would be funded by salary savings from filling a vacant senior welder position and office assistant for asset warranty management.

Public Works Director Steve Latoski said senior mechanics are making about $20,000 less than mechanics in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, and San Bernardino, California.

This will bring the mechanics’ salary to $38,000, which is still below their peers, Latoski said.

Other Board of Supervisors action:

• The board voted 5-0 to take public input on proposed changes to building fees, planning and zoning and automation fees. Tim Walsh, director of Development Services, said public hearings would be schedule for January in Kingman, Bullhead City, Mohave Valley and Lake Havasu City. He expects to have the new fee structure back to the board in May for implementation in June.

• The board approved an amendment to the Mohave County General Plan and rezone to allow for a business office and cabinet shop at Willow Road and Gordon Drive; a vehicle wrecking yard and junkyard east of Bruce Drive and Grossman Road; and a restaurant at Gordon Drive and Lomita Street.

• The board voted 4-0 (Supervisor Buster Johnson abstained) to keep Gary Watson as chairman and Hildy Angius as vice chairman.