Tucumcari still without mayor

TV Hagenah

Despite attempts to the contrary by some, Tucumcari still has no mayor and still has no commissioner for District 3.

In the sometimes contentious Tucumcari City Commission meeting Thursday evening, it was decided that no decision would be made about appointing a person to fill the commission seat left vacant when Mayor Calvin Litchfield died late in March. It was also decided that no decision would be made in choosing a new Mayor until the vacant seat for District 3 was filled.

Early on in the meeting, new city commissioner Christopher Maestas put forth the name of current acting Mayor Antonio Apodoca as Mayor, but Commissioners Mary Mayfield and Betty Ditto said that they felt it would not be fair if the current sitting commissioners selected a mayor since that would mean a portion of the city would not have representation regarding that selection of the mayor since the District 3 seat had not been filled.

For that reason, the selection was tabled until a commissioner could be found for District 3.

Pastor Jim Witcher of the First Christian Church who was at the meeting came forward and said he was interested in serving as the new commissioner for District 3.

Commissioners said they regarded Witcher highly, but felt that rather than appoint a person on the spot Thursday evening, it should be advertised and people be allowed to submit letters of intent for a special election.

City Clerk Rachel Hicklin told commissioners that the earliest time a special election could be held because of state requirements and conflicts was probably late June or July and she pointed out that other state and city requirements mandated filling the open positions before then.

For that reason, commissioners said they would entertain letters of intent for the appointment to the District 3 seat in the next two weeks at which time the commissioners would hold a special meeting to appoint the new temporary commissioner who would serve until the special election later in the year.

Apodaca said he personally hoped that an individual would come forward to be appointed who did not want to run in the special election since incumbents had an edge in elections. Mayfield disagreed with Apodaca saying she felt that she would want a person who wanted to serve in both capacities.

Another area that saw a disagreement arise on the commission was when Tonya Rigdon of the high school Booster Club asked for a reduction in the rental price of the Tucumcari Convention Center for the annual Booster Club athletic banquet. Mayfield said that she felt because of the individuals being honored, the reduction should be granted.

Tucumcari Convention Center Director Ron Willmot spoke from the audience pointing out that the Booster Club was not in fact a non-profit group and as such was not entitled to a reduction. Mayfield then suggested that if the high school would co-sponsor the banquet then a reduction might be granted.

Apodaca, however, said that to be consistent and fair, the full price should be charged since in the past when other deserving groups wanted to have the price reduced, they were not granted the reduction. A vote was taken and Mayfield and Ditto voted for the reduction while Apodaca and Maestas voted against and since it was a tie, no action was taken.