Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Thomas Garcia
Senior Writer 

Total recall of commish?

Resident says he has enough signatures to start removal process.


March 15, 2017

Tucumcari native Keith Hayes says he has collected enough signatures from residents to order the recall of four city commissioners.

Hayes presented the signatures to City Clerk Angelica Gray on Friday. Those signatures were presented to the commission on Tuesday during a special meeting.

Gray said officials will now review the signatures to determine if they are valid.

If commissioners certify the petitions as valid, then they will call for a special election, Gray said.

Hayes has battled commissioners regarding his business property, which city officials have said is unkept with heavy, rusting equipment and other unsightly items on it. Officials say they have made numerous requests for Hayes to clean up the property on Railroad Avenue, but he was fined when he declined.

Hayes said there was a positive response from residents when he presented the petitions.

“I even had some people come and find me, wanting to sign the petition,” he said.

Hayes said he started the petitions for the recall, because commissioners were not putting the needs of residents first. He said the main driving force for the recalls was commissioners not listening to residents when implementing nuisance and garage sale ordinances. He also cited a lack of economic development in the city.

Hayes sought the recall of four commissioners because City Commission District 5 remains vacant following the death of John Mihm in December.

Gray said a special election for recall would cost $5,500 to $7,500.

The petitions require the signature of 20 percent of the voters in each district from the last election, said City Manager Jared Langenegger.

Langenegger said if a commissioner or commissioners are recalled, a second special election would have to be held to fill the vacancies. He said that would cause a disruption in the operations of the city.

The main duties of the city clerk and the commissioners to conduct business in the best interest of the city will be put on hold until this is resolved, Langenegger said.

The number of signatures Hayes said he collected:

• District 1, Ralph Moya: 43

• District 2, Amy J. Gutierrez: 40

• District 3, Ruth Ann Litchfield: 30

• District 4, Robert Lumpkin: 30

“As a commissioner, as part of the commission, we will consider and review any items brought before the commission by the residents,” Gutierrez said.

Lumpkin said the residents have a right to recall and “with our style of government, they didn’t have to have a big reason to request one.”

“People are just exercising their rights as residents,” Lumpkin said. “I want my constituents to vote accordingly. Whether they feel I have done a good job or I have done a bad job, I want them to voice their vote.”

Litchfield said if the constituents in her district felt she has done a bad job, she wishes they would have talked to her in person.

“I am always willing to listen to the concerns, complaints and ideas of my constituents and the residents of Tucumcari,” Litchfield said.

Moya could not be reached for comment.


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