The La Paz County Board of Supervisors voted to terminate the agreement they had with the firm that provided Robert Smith as Interim County Administrator, citing the high costs and the necessity of filling the position on a permanent basis.
Supervisor Holly Irwin placed the item on Monday’s agenda, saying she “about fell off [her] chair” when she saw the checks going out from the County to the firm, Interim Public Management LLC, based in Fountain Hills, AZ.
“I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s received numerous complaints and concerns with the amount of money we’re handing out to this company,” Irwin said. “We’ve been talking about laying people off and furloughs and whatnot.”
Irwin went on to say she felt it was unfair to pay so much – a reported $20,000 per month – to retain the services of the company that supplied Smith when the County now had “several applications” for the permanent position at the County’s Human Resources Department.
Supervisors D.L. Wilson and Duce Minor agreed, saying they thought filling the position after a 30-day notice period would be appropriate.
Minor added that he didn’t think anybody should be surprised by the amount, as there was a full discussion of costs at the time the firm was hired, to which Irwin responded by saying, “I’m not surprised, but that was prior to talking about laying people off.”
Minor said it turns out to be the County’s own policies that are responsible for delays in Board actions regarding finances, and that that leads to fear of the unknown. He also said the amount of money being discussed on social media is not what Robert Smith personally gets paid, but is the cost paid to the firm itself, “who have a really good gig going.”
The administrative firm was hired after former County Administrator Dan Field resigned following the election of Duce Minor to the Board of Supervisors. Minor had been critical of Field’s performance in the job and had been drawing attention to financial problems at the County during the 2016 election.
It is not confirmed at this time whether Smith will be applying for the permanent position after the current arrangement with the company is terminated, or who else may be in the running.