Update: Citizens put together petition to have Hagerman mayor recalled
Mayor gives his side of the story
HAGERMAN, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Last week KMVT brought viewers the story about a petition started by a group of concerned Hagerman citizens who want the mayor of Hagerman recalled. Now Mayor Alan Jay is speaking up and giving his side of the story.
Last Thursday a petition with more than 20 signatures was submitted to the Gooding County Clerk’s Office, requesting the be recalled by the registered voters of Hagerman.
“They are coming after him because he is not doing his job the way it’s supposed to be done,” said Carl Jeffries, who is a Hagerman resident and one of the people who signed the petition.
The petition has 15 reasons and concerns listed on it why citizens believe Jay should be put up for a recall vote on the March ballot, but the mayor said he isn’t buying it and was shocked when heard about the petition.
“Wow! Really? We have better things to do in this town than just squabble over gossip,” Jay said.
The first-term mayor said some of the things on the petition he doesn’t understand or why they were even put on the petition. Things like: creates a hostile work environment, costs the city funds by not following through, and consistently puts the city at risk for lawsuits-including ADA laws.
“(Are they) saying we are not in compliance with the sidewalks? What is that? I have been trying to fix those sidewalks," Jay said. “We are trying work on those sidewalks.”
Another thing listed on the petition was, “Will not communicate, answer the phone, never available." But Jay points out that the mayor position isn’t a full-time job. It’s a part-time one.
“As a part-time guy, I’m not going to be able to answer every phone call because I will be doing stuff as well,” Jay said.
But Jeffries counters Jay’s argument by stating, “He doesn’t ever answer the phone because he is never available,” he said. “When 'people start cooperating and saying yes then I (Jay) will answer it’ type thing,” Jeffries said. “He feels that he has all this authority and he doesn’t."
When it comes to the claim of “misuse and abuse of power” on the petition, Jay said he thinks that is about his decision to close the Hagerman City Park in the summer due to COVID-19 concerns, and the contract negotiation with the Gooding County Sheriff’s Office.
Jay said he believes there is a lot of “street gossip” going around town that he closed the park unilaterally without talking to the City Council, but he said that is not true.
“I called every one of them on the phone, before I made that decision, and got a telephonic ‘Yes’ to close that park from every single one of them,” Jay said.
When it comes to the contract negotiations with the Gooding County Sheriff’s Office, who has a deputy stationed in town because Hagerman doesn’t have a police department, Jeffries said he others are critical of Jay’s leadership because the mayor waited until mid-October when the contract is supposed to be signed at the first of October.
“And then he brings up in a meeting that he wants to bring in his own police department, his own police chief, and it is like hey wait a minute,” Jeffries said."
He said if Jay wanted to bring a police department to Hagerman, it should have been talked about it in July or August, and the mayor should have come up with some figures as to what it’s going to cost the city and how it is going to work. Jeffries said the sheriff’s contract was eventually renewed and signed at the last City Council meeting, but Jay didn’t attend that meeting because he is in quarantine due to COVID-19.
Jay said the situation with the Gooding County Sheriff’s Office was just “contract negotiations” and he thinks people are overreacting to it. He feels a lot of the issues in Hagerman are the result of “squeaky wheel” individuals who are not accepting the results from the election.
“I just want these people to accept the votes of the last election, and try to work together, and try to move forward,” Jay said.
In order for Jay to be recalled and the measure to be put on the March ballot, a second petition would have to be circulated and 20 percent of the registered voters from the last election would have to sign it. Jay said he isn’t too worried about being recalled and has no interest in resigning either.
“No, I do not. I’m not going to let the bullies be bullies and win,” said Jay. “A lot of people when they first found out said ‘Good job. You must be doing a good job for this city, if they are trying to do this to you.'"
Jay won the 2019 election for mayor with 53% of the vote, against incumbent Noel “Pete” Weir and Jasmine Call.
Jeffries said he thinks Jay won because the former mayor had been in office for a long time and people wanted some change. He also said if Jay is recalled he would like someone new to run and would prefer not to see the former mayor run again.
“There are other people out there that can do a much better job,” Jeffries said.
HAGERMAN, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - On Thursday a petition to have Hagerman mayor Alan Jay recalled from office, was handed into the Gooding County Clerks office.
The petition has 15 reasons listed on it why a group of Hagerman residents wants Jay recalled from office. Some of them include: misuse and abuse of power, puts own agenda before the interest of the city, and misappropriation of funds.
KMVT reported back in August that a group of residents were upset with Jay for unilaterally closing down the city park due to COVID-19 concerns without discussing it with the city council and getting public feedback from residents.
Denise Gill, who is the Gooding County Clerk, said the petition has 22 signatures (20 required), which is enough for her office to verify the signatures and then send it back to the city clerk of Hagerman. Gill said once the city clerk gets it and presents it to the mayor he has up to five days to resign from office or take it to a recall vote.
Gill said if Jay chooses not to resign, another petition would have to be circulated and it would have to garner 20 percent of the registered voters from the last election to get on the March ballot.
For Jay to be recalled the measure would have to get as many votes or greater from the election that got Jay elected to office.
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