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Hagerman mayor speaks on upcoming recall vote

“I feel that some of these people if they have these problems come to the meetings and bring them up. I haven’t seen anybody come to these meetings for months and raise these questions that are on this list”
Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 12:57 PM MST
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HAGERMAN, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The election is on March 9, and one of the ballot items in Hagerman is to have the mayor recalled. KMVT recently spoke with Mayor Alan Jay and a few of his supporters to see how they feel about Jay’s chances of remaining in office.

In the small, little sleepy town of Hagerman, there is a storm brewing as there are flyers circulating around town asking citizens to vote in a few days to have the mayor recalled from office.

“I just can’t believe these people could just go out without any proof and say things like that,” Jay said.

KMVT reported in October that there was a petition circulating around Hagerman listing 15 reasons why Jay should be recalled from office, ranging from abuse to power to not attending meetings and not being accessible. Nearly six months later Jay said he still doesn’t understand the accusations.

recall petition
recall petition(SK)

“They are all lies. All of them can be verified if they come in and check with the city,” Jay said. “and I would love for everyone to come in before they vote and check out the truth through City Hall.”

The petition and the flyer were put together by a citizens’ group in Hagerman. One of Jay’s supporter’s John Summerlin said the accusations and recall make no sense to him because this is Jay’s first term in office.

“He was handed this plate load of stuff and all these changes, so I don’t know what the problem is,” Summerlin said.” But it seems to me that things take time, and instead of working against somebody that is for the community they should get together with the mayor and figure out what needs to be done.”

He said from his experience Jay has been accessible and has managed the mayor’s office well. Summerlin said he is not nervous about Jay being recalled because the accusations have no validity to them.

“I feel that some of these people if they have these problems come to the meetings and bring them up,” Summerlin said. “I haven’t seen anybody come to these meetings for months and raise these questions that are on this list.”

KMVT checked out a Facebook group called Hagerman Citizen that was advocating for Jay’s recall by stating, “Hagerman City citizens will be asked to go to the polls and VOTE. Tuesday, March 9 is the day and we need 162 votes to recall the Mayor of Hagerman Idaho.” KMVT reached out to the group for comment and received no reply back.

Larry and Vianne Hume, who are Hagerman residents and supporters of Jay, said they don’t know why the people who have a problem with Jay are hiding behind anonymity and generalizing the issues with no specific accusations.

“If they do have problems why aren’t they doing it face-to-face? Why aren’t they doing it above board,” said Vianne Hume. “Some of the things just sound silly to me. They don’t make sense.”

Larry Hume said he feels really bad for Jay because he has known him for eight years and watched him work tirelessly for the city.

But in October a Hagerman resident by the name of Carl Jefferies told KMVT the accusations against Jay do have validity to them and, “They (citizens) are coming after him because he is not doing his job the way it’s supposed to be done.”

Jefferies said when it came 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, he and others were 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 a subsequent City Council meeting, but Jay didn’t attend that meeting because he was quarantined due to COVID-19

Last summer Jay closed the city park in Hagerman to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, some people in the community accused him of doing it unilaterally, but Jay said he doesn’t think that is how the recall petition started. He thinks it is about power, and there might be one or two people who signed the petition who want to be mayor.

Jay and his supporter said that since he has been mayor he has worked well with the council, including helping to make Hagerman a Second Amendment Sanctuary City.

“As a matter of fact he is dealing with Idaho Power now as far as getting things done to move the telephone poles back to make wider sidewalks, make them safer, and just things like that,” Summerlin said.

Jay won the 2019 election for mayor with 53% of the vote, against incumbent Noel “Pete” Weir and Jasmine Call.

In October, Jeffries said he thought 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.

Jay said he feels job about his chances of remaining in office and feels he does have a lot of support in the community.

“I can’t pull up to the gas station without three or four people pulling up to me and saying hang in there we support you. You are our mayor,” Jay said.

He said if he isn’t recalled he would like to start a “Coffe with the Mayor” program.

“On Friday morning we can come in here (city hall) for a few hours, sit down and drink a cup of coffee. Tell me your options on things,” Jay said.

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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