Lopez cites conflict as reason for resignation

By Clarence Plank: PNT Staff Writer

The announcement that Jake J. Lopez is resigning from city council didn’t come as a surprise to many at Portales City Hall, but it was a disappointment.

Lopez said Tuesday he was resigning his seat on the Portales City Council, effective after a Jan. 20 meeting.

Lopez said he would quit the council if he won the Roosevelt County Commission District 1 seat. He was unopposed in the county commission race.

“We have known for sometime that Jake was leaving, but we were hoping that he wouldn’t,” said City Manager Debra Lee.

Lopez said he could have held both offices if he wanted to–and he has in the past.

“Sometimes there is a conflict between city and county in making decisions, and if you belong to (just) one then you have no problems,” he said.

The newly elected county commissioner wants to continue to serve the city and said he could do that effectively in his new county commission seat.

“There’s no difference in bettering the city in many ways,” Lopez said. “I am concerned about the roads. County and city people are all the same to me, because they all need help.”

The vacancy created by the departure of Lopez can be filled by appointment or a special election.

Lopez said he would recommend somebody to Mayor Orlando Ortega Jr. as a possible appointee but didn’t elaborate.

Lee said the mayor will take the lead in making a decision after talking to city councilors.

“They may ask for individuals to submit names, or they do have the option to have a special election,” Lee said.

According to Lee, Ortega may confer with the Council in the coming weeks. However, there is no date set for when he might choose Lopez’s replacement or call for a special election.