Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: The Thatcher Town Council selected Ashley Smith to fulfill Wayne Griffin’s last two years on the council.
By Jon Johnson
THATCHER – There’s a new councilor in town and she’s a home-health nurse and mother of five who goes by the name of Smith, Ashley Smith.
According to Mayor Bob Rivera, the town had 12 applicants to fulfill the final two years of former councilor Wayne Griffin’s term, but Smith rose above the rest and was selected at the council’s April 16 meeting. Griffin resigned from his post in March.
Smith is originally from Duncan, and her husband, Mark Smith, is originally from Safford. After traveling around and living various places due to their schooling, they first settled in Safford but soon moved to Thatcher and have been there for the last seven years, according to statements made to the Gila Herald.
Ashley said she is happy to serve on the council because she wants to continue to make the town a family-friendly place moving forward.
“I love Thatcher, and I love living here,” Ashley said. “I just wanted to be a part of the decision making and the improvements that the town makes in the future. I’m excited for this opportunity, and I’m grateful that I was chosen to be a part of it.”
The council narrowed the list of 12 down to five and then set up interviews. However, only four of the applicants appeared on time for their interviews, and by the time the fifth applicant arrived a decision had been made.
“It was a tough decision as it always is,” Rivera said. “There was some hair-splitting . . . It was nothing against them (the other applicants). They were all super good and we could have done just as well with any of them.”
While Smith was immediately sworn in and inserted onto the council, they said that she could recuse herself from the executive session evaluation of Thatcher Town Manager Terry Hinton since she had not been privy to his job performance over the past year. Smith took the recommendation and did not participate in the executive session, which ended with Hinton submitting his resignation after being told his contract would not be renewed in July.
“I don’t have any preconceived notion of what I want to do,” Ashley Smith said. “(I) just want to make it a great place for families to live.”