Melrose police chief resigns

By Sharna Johnson, Freedom New Mexico

The village of Melrose’s lone law enforcement officer has submitted his resignation.

Police Chief Lee Ferguson, who submitted his resignation April 7, said he has accepted a deputy position with the Parmer County Sheriff’s Department.

Ferguson said his final day as chief will be April 25.

“I just feel like it’s time to further my career and go on to greener pastures,” he said Wednesday.

Ferguson has been with the village department for about three years and has served as chief for more than a year.

Mayor Lance Pyle said Ferguson met with him April 7 and submitted his letter of resignation.

“I accepted it and I wished him the best,” Pyle said.

Melrose has a population of about 700, according to the 2000 Census.

Pyle said he has already received inquiries from certified law officers with varying levels of experience expressing interest in the job.

Pay will be determined by experience level, he said.

Ferguson was paid $28,641 plus benefits, village officials said.

In February, the village gave Ferguson an ultimatum when he announced his intention to run for the position of De Baca County sheriff. Citing policy prohibiting an employee from seeking election, village officials told Ferguson to either take a leave of absence without pay, drop out of the race or resign.

Ferguson did not file for candidacy in March.

The owner of City Printing Inc. in Clovis filed a civil complaint April 10 against Ferguson in Curry County Magistrate Court, alleging Ferguson and his campaign staff did not pay for 3,500 door hangers and campaign cards.

Gloria Rael said in her complaint she had been attempting to contact Ferguson and his campaign manager since February to settle the more than $500 bill, records show.

“It’s going to be paid, it’s just a misunderstanding,” Ferguson said on Wednesday, explaining the matter was the result of a miscommunication between his campaign staff and payment would be made prior to expiration of the 20-day court allotted response time.