City commission appointee to step down after lawsuit


February 1, 2023

Matt Bednorz, who the Tucumcari City Commission appointed to fill the term of recently retired District 3 commissioner Ruth Ann Litchfield, said Friday he would step down after District 4 Commissioner Chris Arias filed a lawsuit to block the appointment because Bednorz doesn’t live in the district.

Reached Friday afternoon by phone after the Quay County Sun received a copy of Arias’ lawsuit, Bednorz said he would resign his appointment from the commission.

“I’m done, I’m done,” he said. “I’m not going to fight it.”

Bednorz said he had decided to step down “a day or two” earlier.

Bednorz was appointed last month by the city commission by a 3-1 vote after four candidates were interviewed. He was not sworn into office during that meeting, however.

Bednorz a day later said he lived outside District 3, south of Interstate 40. Because he owned a house in District 3 and his voter registration states he lived there, he thought he still could legally represent the district.

Arias, who cast the only dissenting vote against Bednorz, on Friday afternoon filed a writ of mandamus in district court against the City of Tucumcari. Tucumcari lawyer Kevin Sanders filed the writ on Arias’ behalf.

The lawsuit states Bednorz erroneously stated his status as a “qualified elector” granted him eligibility to serve on District 3.

Arias did not comment about the lawsuit but issued a written statement.

“Let me be clear, I have known Mr. Bednorz for many years and consider him a friend,” Arias stated. “I do not question his ability to serve as a Commissioner, but I do have issue with his claimed residency. … I am taking this action to uphold my oath of office and ensure District 3 is duly represented.”

It wasn’t clear Friday afternoon whether the City of Tucumcari had been served the lawsuit.

The city commission’s next scheduled meeting is Feb. 9.

(More will be reported in the next edition of the Quay County Sun.)


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