Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier
PRESCOTT - The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Monday against the return of wolves to this county.
"Yavapai County doesn't need wolves," Supervisor Chip Davis said. "We've got a fix for the imbalance in the ecosystem. It's called hunting."
He accused the federal government of bringing back the endangered wolf population so it can create more federal jobs to monitor wolves and people.
Supervisor Tom Thurman said the wolves have created havoc in their existing recovery area, which covers portions of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.
"People are shooting wolves left and right because of their predatory nature," Thurman said.
The vote was 4-0 since Supervisor Rowle Simmons was not in attendance, but Simmons voted against the wolves a year ago.
The supervisors oppose the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's plan to expand the Mexican gray wolves' range to more of Arizona and New Mexico. Federal officials say they need more room to become a self-sustaining population.
After last year's public comment period, Fish and Wildlife revised its proposal and now it's seeking a second round of public comments.
Both the old and new proposal envision expanding the wolves' range into more of Arizona and New Mexico, including Yavapai County.
The new proposal would also allow the release of certain wolves in this region.
And it would expand the cases in which people could kill the wolves.
Comments on the new proposal and study are due by Sept. 22. For more details about the proposal, go online to fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf.
Also at Monday's meeting, the supervisors declined the County Attorney's Office request to hire a former Cochise County attorney at the highest county salary step of 40. He would replace the civil attorney that the Board of Supervisors hired away from the County Attorney.
The supervisors noted that Step 32 is normally the highest county step for new hires, with the remaining eight steps reserved for longevity raises.
County Attorney Sheila Polk's memo noted that the supervisors approved hiring two other attorneys at even higher steps than 40 at the end of 2013. She has stated in the past that she's just trying to be competitive with other local governments.
But supervisors said they weren't going to continue going against the county's pay system for the County Attorney.
"I think you need to get some younger blood," Davis said.