INKOM — Max Shaffer likes the town of Inkom just the way it is.
So he said to not expect big changes when he steps in as Inkom mayor. He was elected for the position Tuesday, winning 85.1 percent of the votes with 148 in a two-person contest against Gerrad L. Montgomery.
“My first objective as mayor is to not come in with a big objective to change anything,” Shaffer said. “The employees of our community are outstanding and I’m not looking to make any big changes or do anything different. But I want to continue to do my part to continue to make Inkom a great little town to live in.”
Shaffer, who turns 60 this month, is entrenched in the community. He has lived in Inkom for nearly his entire life, and his maternal and paternal families are multi-generational Inkom residents.
So when the Marsh Valley High School football team had a home playoff game this month, he was there. The 1978 MVHS graduate was an offensive lineman in his high school days and spent six years as a Marsh Valley football coach, including one as the varsity head coach in 2005.
After high school, Shaffer spent much of his working life at Ash Grove Cement Co. in Inkom, where four generations of Shaffers have worked.
He was laid off with the closure of the kiln and quarry at the Inkom plant but later served as a midnight shift supervisor with the company in Durkee, Oregon, where he had four-day workweeks and returned to Inkom on weekends for eight years before retiring last year.
“I tried to be a hard worker my entire life,” Shaffer said. “I had some really good lessons on hard work growing up right here in Inkom with the farmers and ranchers hoeing hay and moving pipe. … It has paid off well for me over my years.”
Shaffer has been a man of many roles.
He served on the Inkom Fire Department for 15 years, spending 10 years as a volunteer firefighter and EMT as well as five years as fire chief.
He has also spent the past 10 years on the Inkom City Council.
“I’ve been civic-minded most of my life,” Shaffer said. “I just thought it was maybe time for me to take a crack at the mayor spot and see if I could help there as well as the other things I have done.”
This was his first mayoral race and he will replace Joel Jolley, who was elected to the Inkom City Council on Tuesday.
Shaffer observed a quiet evening with his wife on election night and checked the Bannock County Elections website for results. When news broke, he said he received plenty of congratulations.
As mayor, he said one of his main focuses will be on infrastructure. He will be able to work off results from a recent study on Inkom roads.
“Those kind of infrastructure things are a challenge to try to find the funding and find the best contractor to do those things,” Shaffer said. “But I look forward to that.”
He will be sworn in as mayor on Jan. 9.
“I hope that I have integrity, I can be counted on to keep my word and do the things that I say I will,” Shaffer said.