Former EPCOG executive director files lawsuit

Freedom New Mexico

The former executive director of the Eastern Plains Council of Governments has filed a wrongful discharge lawsuit against the agency and his successor.

Nick Brady of Clovis filed the civil suit Nov. 12 in 9th Judicial District Court.

Brady accuses EPCOG and his successor, EPCOG board member Richard Arguello, of forcing him to resign without good cause and in violation of “oral and written representations” of an implied contract, according to the suit.

Brady also accuses Arguello of orchestrating the discharge “with the intention of assuming the executive director position on at least a part-time basis.”

Attempts to reach Arguello and Brady’s attorney Rick Rowley of Clovis were not successful.

Arguello, a Union County commissioner, assumed the part-time role of EPCOG interim executive director on Sept. 9, 2009, after Brady resigned.

The civil suit accuses Arguello of admitting in a May 22 Clovis News Journal story that the decision to fire Brady was his alone and was never put to a vote by the EPCOG executive committee or board.

Brady is seeking damages of an unspecified dollar amount for lost earnings, lost benefits and emotional distress.

On Nov. 10, the EPCOG board voted to replace Arguello and named EPCOG Assistant Administrator Sandy Chancey the new executive director effective Dec. 1.

Arguello is leaving EPCOG because he will cease to be a Union County commissioner on Jan. 1. EPCOG bylaws specify board members must be a county or municipal official.