Tucumcari municipal judge to resign


July 20, 2022

Tucumcari’s municipal judge is resigning this week less than a year after he won a contested November election for the post.

Christopher Maestas, 78, last week submitted a letter of resignation, effective July 22.

Maestas stated in his letter he decided to step down “after careful consideration” due to health, physical and mental conditions.

He stated it was a privilege to have served in the position.

“I’m not very healthy,” Maestas said in a phone interview Friday. “I’m going to have to get someone to take it over. I’m pretty old. I hope if they get another person, they get a younger person, younger than 70.”

Maestas said he was dealing with injuries from his service in the military, including to his back.

Debra Stottlemyer of the New Mexico Judicial Education Center advised municipal court clerk Paula Chavez in an email the Tucumcari city commission would have to appoint someone to take Maestas’ place. Maestas was scheduled to serve a four-year term.

During a city commission meeting Thursday, clerk Angelica Gray said the city would advertise to fill the vacant position.

Maestas, a retired educator, prevailed in a three-way race for the City of Tucumcari’s municipal judge position in the November 2021 election.

He earned 61% of the vote, easily outpacing Willis Hendrickson, a retiree and husband of previous municipal judge Noreen Hendrickson, and Tommy Snapp, a disabled former corrections officer.

Maestas assumed the municipal judge seat in December after going through the required training.

Previous municipal judge Noreen Hendrickson was appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to magistrate judge in Tucumcari in June 2021. She continues to serve in that post.


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