Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees President Nick Naranjo appointed members to the Election Committee during the May 24 Board meeting to oversee the three upcoming trustee election in June, but one appointee declined the position.
Board Vice President and District 6 Trustee Leo Marquez said he wanted to “stay out of it.”
“I am going to go ahead and I am going to decline, but thank you for offering it to me,” Marquez said.
Naranjo paused after Marquez’s announcement and looked at the other trustees for a few moments before asking District 1 Trustee Dolores McCoy if she wanted the spot.
She said yes.
“About two weeks ago I had volunteered to work any of (the elections), even if they didn’t pay me, and I didn’t hear anything about it,” she said during a Tuesday telephone interview.
McCoy said she served on the Committee in the past, but could not remember the year. She has been on the Board since 2009.
“Judges just kind of watch and just kind of make sure everything is OK,” she said about the role.
Naranjo referred questions about Committee member duties to Co-op interim general manager Andrew Chavez.
“The Committee members oversee all three elections,” Chavez said during a Tuesday telephone interview. “As you know, we have a third party who is involved in the election. The Committee members will pretty much assist the certification of registration, making sure people are who they say they are.”
Chavez said the third-party company is Automated Election Services.
The company is based in Rio Rancho and has 42 years experience with elections at the state, county and municipal level, as well as with non-government entities, its website states.
Chavez said he did not know the date the company was hired, but that this is the first time a third-party company has been hired to be part of the Co-op election process.
Naranjo also named District 3 Trustee Johnny Jaramillo and Member-at-Large John Tapia to the Committee.
Jaramillo accepted the position.
Tapia did not attend the May 24 meeting.
Naranjo said he will choose a replacement if Tapia refuses.
Co-op Policy 106, the Board of Trustees Committees Policy, states the president “may appoint special committees as necessary to assist the Board in carrying out its responsibilities.”
The president “will have final say” in committee membership, the policy states.
Board Policy 145, the Election Policy, outlines candidate qualifications and how Co-op resources can be used in the process.
The policy exists “to insure (sic) the fairness, impartiality, confidentiality, transparency and integrity of the voting process,” it states.
Board members are prohibited from endorsing candidates for election, the policy states. Co-op resources cannot be used to support or oppose any candidate.
The Co-op is allowed to take a public position on matters brought forth by member-owners for a public vote.
Naranjo said he did not know before the May 24 meeting that Marquez was going to decline the Committee appointment.
“That is a decision they have to make on their own,” he said.
Marquez said in a Tuesday telephone interview that he was going to be traveling on June 21, the date of the District 4 election.
“The reason is, I am actually going to be on travel, so I told myself if I can’t be involved in the whole process, I didn’t want to do it,” he said.
While Marquez serves as a trustee and Board vice president, his day job is being the Rio Arriba County deputy County manager.
He will be attending the New Mexico Association of Counties annual conference from June 17 to June 21.
The District 5 election will be held June 24 at Española Valley High School and District 6 elections will take place June 26 at the old high school in Pojoaque.