Rio Arribans in County Commission District 2, and Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative members are all suffering from bad politics and appointment processes that are far from transparent and shamefully wrong.
Let’s start with replacing soon to be state senator Leo Jaramillo. To take that position, he must relinquish his County Commission seat. No problem there.
The path for his replacement starts with the existing commission making recommendations to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. She can also accept applications from any resident who currently resides in Jaramillo’s district.
The governor’s press secretary sent an email to “media” Nov. 25 at 3 p.m. calling for applications with a deadline of Dec. 1. We’ve all known this seat would need to be filled since he won the general election Nov. 3. However, the governor thought asking for applicants the day before Thanksgiving at 3 p.m., before a four day weekend, with a tight deadline, was a great way to get a solid pool of applicants.
When we challenged the press secretary on her timeline she responded that she didn’t appreciate what we were insinuating.
We all know this is not a true search for applicants. The commissioners pick the people who will get in line with them and the governor will choose the person who will best fall in line with her. And let’s not forget about who brings what votes to the table.
Then there is the current Jemez Co-op musical chairs game, replete with an outgoing member-at-large with egg on his face and a former majority of trustees who got caught by their own spider’s web.
To recap: former trustee member-at-large John Tapia resigned his position on the Co-op board Nov. 30 because he thought he had the general manager slot all sewed up. Five days later the board, now a 10-person board, was supposed to replace Tapia, by appointment, with his buddy George Rivera, a Pojoaque politico.
There was no search, no call for applicants, no advertisements of any kind.
Fortunately, things went sideways and the vote went 5-5. George was left at the altar. The former board minority swung a vote from the bad guys and replaced Tapia with Marissa Muller, a Los Alamos National Laboratory cybersecurity whiz.
We hope she’s a good appointment and will actually vote for and support things that are good for all Co-op members. That’s her job as member-at-large. We’re concerned her husband is on the Pojoaque School Board, of which John Tapia’s and George Rivera’s good friend John Paul Romero is president. But let's see how Co-op issues are decided going forward.
Keep in mind this worked out well for Co-op members but we all had no control and no say whatsoever in any of these Machiavellian machinations. We just as easily could have ended up with Rivera saddling up with the Board majority most of us have loathed for years. A quick vote would have put Tapia in the driver’s seat, a disaster of epic size.
But we got lucky. The new majority then voted to extend the search for a general manager 30 days. That’s good business. While the old board majority wanted their associate running the Co-op, the proper process is a wide search for the best person. In a fit of “taking my ball and bat and going home,” Tapia withdrew his application for general manager.
We are waiting on a request to inspect the applicants for the open member-at-large position and the general manager position. There is no doubt members should know the qualifications of the candidate chosen and those who were not.
We’re also waiting to find out who applied for Jaramillo’s soon-to-be vacated County Commission seat. Again we mere mortals have no control who will represent District 2. Those voters will be stuck with whomever the governor chooses.
Both processes are not very democratic and not transparent in the least.