Hildy Angius

MOHAVE COUNTY – Call to the Public portions of Mohave County Board of Supervisors meetings sometimes morph into extended town halls, or episodes of Jerry Springer shows in the estimation of many.

New Chairman Hildy Angius is proposing a reform she believes will keep citizen free speech rights intact, but allow the government to conduct its business in more orderly fashion. She is asking colleagues for support in moving the Call to Public to the end of their board meetings.

Angius noted there was no Call to the Public more than a decade ago and that she and Steve Moss and the late Joy Brotherton all rode that issue horse to election to the board. Angius said staging Call to the Public near the front of meetings worked well for many years, but that times have changed dramatically.

“There’s so many issues and people are just so angry. I’m not making any judgment on this. They’re angry. They’re overwhelmed … and they want their voices heard,” Angius said. But she said long-running Call to Public meeting segments is an inefficient use of time and resources while agenda items sometimes wait hours for action.

“First and foremost, the Board of Supervisors meetings are business meetings. It’s to do the business of the county,” Angius said. “Supervisor (Buster) Johnson several years ago wanted to put it in the back when he was Chairman and we, as a board, overrode that.”

The Board meets next Tuesday rather than Monday due to the Martin Luther King holiday. Angius is asking the Board to reconsider the matter and reposition the Call to Public going forward this year.

Through the pandemic to present, a cadre of citizens have become Call to the Public frequent flyers, several offering input nearly every meeting, sometimes highly scripted. Angius is not certain how they or the public will react to her proposal with pushback.

“I don’t think, well there might, because everyone will get upset about everything you do, and when they hear this, they’ll say ‘you’re suppressing my first amendment rights’ and this has nothing to do with that,” Angius said. “Besides, there’s nothing in statute that makes a Board of Supervisors do a Call to Public, or any public body. We don’t have to do it.”