Former Chandler City Council member Jack Sellers is the new Maricopa County supervisor for District 1.
The four members of the board and the clerk picked Sellers, who is in his final year on the State Transportation Board, to fill out the remaining two years of Denny Barney’s term.
Barney, of Gilbert, stepped down Feb. 1 to become CEO/president of the East Valley Partnership.
Seller, whose district includes Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Queen Creek and Sun Lakes, bested 12 other Republicans – including eight who lost elections last year. State law required the three other Republican and one Democratic supervisor to pick a Republican since Barney is one.
Sellers’ election also ensured that the board will remain all male. Two women, former state Rep. Jill Norgaard and ASU associate president of community relations Angela Creedon, were among those who had applied for the vacancy.
Several of his new board colleagues singled out Sellers’ expertise in transportation issues and Sellers himself indicated that will be a priority for him in the next two years.
“We are at a point where the next several years will be critical in defining our transportation infrastructure for the future,” said Sellers in brief remarks after his swearing-in.
Several other supervisors also noted his work in helping to plan for the increasing presence of autonomous vehicles on the road. Sellers has spoken before on the number of issues that state and local planners will have to deal with to accommodate autonomous cars and, eventually, trucks.
Supervisor Steve Chucri joked about Sellers’ longtime involvement in areas of transportation, noting he met Sellers when he was working for General Motors and “my family was in the car business.”
“You look at Mr. Sellers’ background and his time on the Transportation board and the pieces of the puzzle just fit,” Chucri said.
In his application letter, Sellers also underscored his transportation expertise and said:
“One of the pressing issues for our county over the next few years will be the intelligent extension of our Prop 400 transportation funding mechanism to Prop 500,” he said, referring to two voter-approved measures that had added billions to the development of roads and public transportation.
“I also have very good working relationships with MAG, Valley Metro, ADOT and the Federal Highway Administration,” he also wrote.
Sellers, whose annual salary will be $76,000, will have an annual office budget of about $440,000 and three fulltime staff members. He also will now have a role with the rest of the board in overseeing an annual budget that currently totals nearly $2.5 billion.
That money funds a wide variety of services that include: county road and bridge construction and maintenance, the operation of all other county offices such as those of the sheriff and recorder; flood control and various health and sanitation programs, including restaurant and supermarket inspections; Superior Court and related operations, including the public defender, county attorney and probation; and various education, cultural and recreation programs.
In his letter, Sellers touted his reputation on Chandler City Council as the “Economic Development Council Member.”
“I recognize that Arizona’s economy is very dependent on foreign trade and I have also been given the title of “International Ambassador” and continue to serve on the GPEC International Leadership Council, as well as the Arizona Mexico Commission and Arizona Sister Cities. I have participated in trade missions to Mexico, Canada, Ireland, Taiwan and China. I have strong support from the economic development groups I have worked with including the Cities of Chandler and Phoenix, GPEC and the Arizona Commerce Authority,” he said.
He also touted his strong ties to ASU and the Maricopa County community college system and his “relationship with our State Legislature” and clearly signaled he’ll be seeking a four-year term in 2020, stating “based on the distribution of voters in District 1, I am the most electable candidate seeking this position.”