Managing Gila County A Matter Of Delegation


Each of the three Gila County Board of Supervisors serves a landmass that encompasses more than 100 miles.

Supervisor Shirley Dawson's district, which stretches from Hayden to Star Valley, covers a landmass of 169 miles.

Dawson said, since she lives in Globe, she can be anywhere within her district in 1.5 hours.

Dawson also serves the communities of Winkleman, a portion of Globe, the San Carlos Indian reservation, a portion of the White Mountain Indian Reservation, Young, Roosevelt Resort and Star Valley.

She said even though her district encompasses so large an area -- two-thirds of the county in landmass -- she tries to visit each area of her district at least once a month.

"I probably spend a lot of time in Young and Star Valley due to the problem areas (that have been happening) in the past six to seven months," Dawson said.

The questions in Star Valley, she said, focus on water issues and the U.S. Forest Service.

The main concern in Young, Dawson said, is the 17 miles of dirt road that separates the community from Highway 260.

She said when a person calls her about a part of the county she does not cover, she refers them to a different supervisor unless it is a general question she can answer.

Gila County Supervisor Chairman Joe Sanchez covers the communities of Claypool, most of Globe, Gisela, half of Rye and one percent of Payson, which is the area by the hospital.

Sanchez said if a resident calls him about an issue not in his district, he, too, directs that person to the appropriate supervisor. However, he said, anyone can ask or address any supervisor on road concerns in the county.

"Our interests lie in our districts," he said. "It is a common courtesy that they check with their own supervisor."

He said three supervisors covering a county of 53,000 residents is not that difficult when comparing them to other counties in the state.

Pinal County for example has a population of 200,000 residents with only three supervisors.

District 1 Supervisor Tommie Martin said that a county can go from three to five supervisors when the population reaches 100,000 if it chooses. When the population reaches 200,000, counties have to increase their supervisors from three to five.

Martin's district includes Payson, Pine, Strawberry, the west side of the Beeline Highway to the county line and Highway 260 west and east of Star Valley.

Martin said she thinks of her district as Northern Gila County and will help those who call for assistance.

She said the big issues in her district are fire protection, water adequacy and returning health to the forests.

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