County Nominates Public Works Director for Game Commission

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Rio Arriba County Public Works Director Napoleon Garcia submitted a letter on his own behalf to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to express his interest in serving on the New Mexico State Game Commission. The Commission oversees the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and a budget of more than $35 million.

The Rio Arriba County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution April 30 to recommend Public Works Director Napoleon Garcia to serve on the New Mexico State Game Commission.

County Attorney Adán Trujillo said Garcia submitted on his own behalf a letter of interest in serving on the Game Commission to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

“At the request of (County) Manager (Tomas) Campos, I prepared a resolution in support of Mr. Garcia that this Commission consider and if it is approved it will be forwarded to the governor,” he said.

The seven seats of the Game Commission are vacant because on March 25, Lujan Grisham asked all seven members to submit resignation letters, an Associated Press story states.

Napoleon Garcia’s uncle Commissioner Danny Garcia said he was in support of the County’s resolution.

“There has, and is, a big concern that we don’t have representation from this capacity in the governor’s office to represent the ranchers, the northern ranchers really,” Danny Garcia said. “Most of this (Game) Commission was from Santa Fe on down and I think it is a very well worth (sic) resolution.”

The resolution states that the Commission “applauds (Grisham’s) actions, and the initiative taken to restore the (Game) Commission’s authority and integrity in the eyes of rural New Mexicans who have for many years felt ignored and beset upon by the (Game) Commission.”

Although they approved the resolution, Trujillo said it should not be construed to be demanding anything of the governor and is only meant to be in support of Napoleon Garcia’s application.

Commissioner Leo Jaramillo said the Commission did something similar when it came to supporting nominees for the Northern New Mexico College Board of Regents.

“We actually sent a letter on behalf of the three of us who we thought best reflected our northern community, so I see this as the same type of initiative,” he said.

The resolution also states that Napoleon Garcia is a good candidate for a spot on the Game Commission because of his “long history as a sportsman, cattle rancher, land steward and outdoorsman, as well as his work experience in state and local government.”

An Inspection of Public Records Act request for a Napoleon Garcia’s personnel file, which should include his resume and additional information about his work history, has been pending since Tuesday.

The Commission has passed two resolutions in opposition of the Game Commission since 2017.

The first was in July 2017, when then commissioners Barney Trujillo and Alex Naranjo voted with Danny Garcia against the Game Commission’s decision to close Laguna del Campo.

The Game Commission later decided to transfer the lake to the Tierra Amarilla Land Grant-Merced instead of draining the lake.

The second was on Jan. 31, when the current Commission passed a resolution in support of farmers and ranchers struggling to get assistance from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish for big game depredation to their properties.

The Game Commission approved changes Nov. 30, 2018 to the program that provides compensation to farmers and ranchers for damages to their lands. County ranchers and farmers said the new rules make it more difficult for small land owners, such as many of those who live in the County, to receive depredation funds.

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