Chaotic meeting doesn’t end with new Sunland Park mayor
Drama includes shouting and shoving matches, the mayor pro tem walking out of the meeting, and her earlier firing of the city clerk.
A chaotic, outdoor meeting that included shouting and shoving matches this evening ended without the Sunland Park City Council appointing a mayor, but the council did schedule another meeting for May 14 to take that action.
In the meantime, councilors plan to interview the two candidates who presented themselves this evening: Javier Perea, who resigned from the job after the council’s previous decision to appoint him violated the N.M. Open Meetings Act, and Gerardo Hernandez, who lost the March 6 mayoral election to Daniel Salinas – the mayor-elect who later forfeited the office because conditions of release from jail on felony charges prohibited him from stepping foot in city hall to take the oath of office.
Those hoping to put an end to that dizzying saga tonight will have to wait a little longer.
There was lots of drama at tonight’s meeting. From the Las Cruces Sun-News:
“Perea and Hernandez presented themselves for the position near the end of a public meeting that Mayor Pro Tem Isabel Santos tried to cancel at the last second, arguing that it never should have been scheduled to begin with, because the city did not post a notice 72 hours in advance.
“After saying that the meeting needed to be postponed for more information on the prospective candidates, Santos walked off before the meeting was called to order, attracting jeers from many in the audience of about 120 people. As reporters swarmed around her, a young man approached and asked Santos, ‘Why are you leaving us?’ and also said, ‘I don’t appreciate this!’
“Santos also fielded questions about her decision to fire the city clerk, Liz Gamez, about an hour before the meeting. Santos said she fired Gamez, who was escorted off city property by police, because Gamez had ‘disobeyed’ her wishes to schedule the meeting at a later date. Santos accused Gamez of going behind her back and conspiring with city council members to arrange Friday’s meeting.”
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