Mohave County supervisors were expected to appoint a member to represent the county on three different boards, but voted Monday in two separate motions to put Chairman Gary Watson on one board and newcomer Ron Gould on two others.
Supervisor Buster Johnson made a motion to appoint Gould to all three boards, replacing former Supervisor Lois Wakimoto, and Gould seconded the motion.
During discussion before the vote, Supervisor Hildy Angius noted that Watson already has extensive knowledge about local water issues and could be an option for the Mohave County Water Authority board.
Gould, attending his first board meeting since being elected District 5 supervisor on Nov. 6, said he was interested in serving on the Mohave County Water Authority board and had served on several water committees when he was a state senator.
“I believe that I have the experience to come up to speed,” Gould said. “I’ve dealt with Mohave County Water Authority before as a legislator. They have some problems, and I want to address those problems.”
Angius brought up the tens of thousands of dollars the county is spending on a study by the U.S. Geological Survey to determine how much water is being depleted from aquifers in the Hualapai Valley, Sacramento and Detrital water basins.
Gould would be replacing a supervisor who had no experience on the water board, Johnson said.
Watson said his only interest is with the Mohave County Water Authority and the dealings with the Central Arizona Project. His preference is to remain on the board until the Drought Contingency Plan is completed.
“All I’m proposing is simply this, six months, nine months, whatever you feel comfortable with,” Watson said. “We still have a great deal of clout presently with all the work we’ve managed to do in the last year.
“That’s just the logic I’m using. Probably within six months, a year, the Legislature has to make a decision on drought contingencies for the Colorado River. That’s my only intent is to continue and make sure Mohave County has a voice in that. But if you feel that you’ve got more clout and more ability to deal with those people, then jump on it.”
Johnson’s motion failed 2-3, with supervisors Angius, Watson and Jean Bishop opposed.
Angius made a new motion to appoint Gould to the Clean Colorado River Sustainability Coalition and the Mohave-La Paz Local Workforce Investment Board, and appoint Watson to the Mohave County Water Authority board for the remaining six months.
Johnson said all of the supervisors are assigned to an equal number of commissions and boards at the beginning of their term.
“I feel that Supervisor Gould just won an election and those boards and commissions were assigned basically to that district. To me, I’d be insulted to have somebody say, ‘I’ll take it until the work’s done and then you can have it,’” he said.
Angius interjected that she was on the Mohave County Water Authority board before Wakimoto, so it’s not specific to that district.
Angius’ motion passed 3-2, with Gould and Johnson opposed.