Supervisors Could Rotate As Chairperson

County governing board may take up nomination process this spring

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Flashback January 2009: Supervisor Shirley Dawson grasps her new gavel as the first female chairperson of Gila County’s governing board.

Flashforward January 2010: Supervisors discuss how to be fair with the position of chair.

Last January the swearing in of new Supervisor Mike Pastor ended the four-year reign of Supervisor Jose Sanchez as chairman. Sanchez, a jovial sports fan who often interjected humor into board meetings with good-natured jabs to fans of opposing teams, retired last year.

The new era of female leadership could usher in a sweeping change: a 16-month rotation as chairperson.

Supervisors discussed the idea Tuesday, and could this spring nominate another chairperson. The 16-month rotation would allow each of three supervisors to spend an equal portion of his or her four-year term as chair.

Ultimately, the board decided against a formal proposal to retain freedom of choice. The topic will rise again.

Chief Deputy Clerk Marian Sheppard said the 16-month rotation could mark the first of the sort in Gila County — at least in the past 30 years. “They do whatever works,” she said of the board.

Dawson said Tuesday that other counties use the rotation.

Supervisor Tommie Martin said she thinks nominating Pastor for the lead would make political sense since he acts as the county’s liaison to the County Supervisors Association.

Also, Pastor will likely travel to Washington, D.C. to lobby for funding to build a bridge across Tonto Creek. The long-awaited project sits in his district.

Martin says that if funding for the bridge fails to materialize in the upcoming federal transportation bill, Tonto Basin residents would probably have to wait another six years for another bill.

Nominating Pastor as chair could provide weight to his words, Martin said.

Although Dawson initially suggested the 16-month rotation last January, Pastor requested the topic’s placement on Tuesday’s agenda to gauge his colleagues’ stances.

Supervisors all said they had no problem either retaining one chair or switching every 16-months.

Meanwhile, Dawson has not erased all tradition. The sports-minded friendly jabs of Sanchez’s era have definitely continued.

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