Shirley Dawson Elected Supervisor Chairman

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A unanimous vote Tuesday made Shirley Dawson chairman of the Gila County Board of Supervisors, but Supervisor Tommie Martin is watching carefully.

“You can use the chair position to empower our people or imprison our people,” Martin said Thursday.

“Like a knife or a rope, you can use that chair as a tool or a weapon. As long as she uses that chair for an empowering tool, she has my support.”

Martin, who retained the vice chair position, said she’d received phone calls from constituents concerned that conflicts would again erupt between the county’s north and south ends.

Some have urged Martin to fight Dawson for the chair seat, she said.

“If we’re going to fight, it doesn’t need to be over who is chairman,” Martin added.

“I don’t really care who is chair, but I really do care how they chair.”

In an example of empowering versus imprisoning, Martin said the county has stayed “on the right side of the zeros” because it has allowed managers freedom in their jobs without trying to micromanage.

Dawson proposed sweeping changes in county management positions roughly an hour after assuming her new position, saying the changes would save money.

She also marveled at her new accoutrements.

“Don’t you just love my new gavel,” Dawson said at the start of Tuesday’s work study session.

In the next four years, Dawson said she wants to focus on prioritizing goals, both for the proposed federal stimulus package wish list and to give the county direction.

“Right now we kind of have fragmented ideas and objectives,” Dawson said. She also wants to schedule more work study sessions like the one on Tuesday where supervisors discussed the evolving wish list and her proposed management changes.

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