“I’m running because I’m fed up,” Hallie Overman Jackman declared to Northern Gila County Democrats. Jackman has announced she is seeking to unseat District 1 Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin.
An Independent, she was a guest speaker at the Democrats’ April 18 meeting.
“Awhile back I was asked to join in on some forest meetings and I came away disappointed. More recently, I attended some (county) budget meetings and I came away disappointed and frustrated,” she said.
At that point, she decided she was going to find someone to run for the District 1 Gila County Supervisor’s seat currently held by Martin.
After looking at what a supervisor does, Jackman decided she fit the bill.
“I have a strong background in (working with the) county. I have experience in forensic accounting,” she said.
Jackman has lived in Payson since 1997 and has been very involved in the community, serving as president of the Rotary Club and working with numerous other clubs and civic groups.
Speaking with the Democrats, she pointed out several areas of concern.
“Going over the county budget, I was bothered by the fact that department heads can approve contracts up to $50,000. Another budget item I question is the award of a $400,000 contract to the Forest Service to trim the trees.”
Jackman said she found it offensive that her county taxes are being used to pay a federal agency to do a job they should be doing anyway with her federal tax dollars; plus they are contracting out the job for $360,000.
Continuing with concerns about the Forest Service, Jackman said it disturbs her that the Payson Ranger District has only two employees to watch over all the national forest recreation sites in northern Gila County.
She said it also bothers her that as a matter of course the Forest Service closes so many roads in the winter to protect them from damage if they are used when muddy. It was done this year, as it is every year, even though this year the winter weather has been dry and mild and the roads were not at risk of damage.
“People needed to get into the forest to get firewood — this year more than most — but they couldn’t because the roads were closed,” she said.
Jackman took issue with the $2.5 million in money given the county by the Forest Service being distributed evenly between three schools rather than dividing it based on school enrollment. The county received the money because so much of the property is federal land and does not generate tax revenue.
She also complained that northern Gila County generates about 87 percent of the county’s budget, but only 17 percent of money comes back to District 1.
Jackman said her earliest priorities if elected would be to make sure the county publishes all of its job openings in the paper; review of all county contracts; and make sure department heads could not approve contracts up to $50,000 without oversight.