Service in the Payson constable's office for two years and the recommendation of the man vacating the post helped Gail Palmateer come out ahead of the more than two dozen candidates interested in taking over Eddie Armer's job.
"It was a natural progression," Palmateer said.
Armer, who served more than a dozen years as the Gila County Constable for the Payson area, suffered a stroke last summer and resigned at the end of the year.
Palmateer, his clerk and one of his deputy constables, stepped into his role when he became ill and submitted a letter of interest in the job when Armer resigned.
She has been with the county for six years, first serving four years in the Justice Court, then joining the constable's office two years ago, first as its clerk, then also as a deputy constable.
Palmateer has made her home in Payson for nine years and also has worked for the Tonto Apache Tribe, serving as surveillance supervisor at the casino and as a gaming inspector.
The county supervisors made it a requirement for those interested in the constable's job to commit to seek the office through the election process this year.
"I'm looking forward to that," Palmateer said. She said has never been involved in a political contest before.
"I also have to run next year, so there is going to be a lot of politics involved," she said.
Jumping in with both feet is nothing new for Palmateer. She said that is what happened when Armer had his stroke.
"I just had to pick up the reins (of the office) and run with it," she said.
The work of the constable's office involves serving papers for both the Superior and Justice Courts and on occasion for the Gila County Sheriff's Office, plus the Gila County Attorney's office and the town's legal department, she said.
She said the most rewarding aspect of the job is being able to help people.
"It's very satisfying to be able to help someone understand the (court) process and keep them from being frightened," she said.
Palmateer said she is getting a great deal of support for her efforts from both Armer and her husband, David Palmateer, who was with the GCSO and also served as a deputy constable. She said he resigned from that job as soon as she was appointed to the top job.
"I'm very excited about it. I'm looking forward to it," Palmateer said of her new role.
"She's an extreme workaholic," Armer said.
"She's a perfectionist. Strong-minded.
"She was an outstanding employee and extremely qualified for the job."