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Sandoval County Names Manager

By Rosalie Rayburn
Journal Staff Writer
          The Sandoval County Commission has voted unanimously to install Phil Rios as the interim county manager.
        Rios was the county public works director. He replaces Juan Vigil, who was fired last month in a controversial action that has prompted a lawsuit.
        Commission Chairman Darryl Madalena said Friday that Rios was an obvious choice because he was already working for the county and has extensive experience in preparing budgets.
        Before he came to Sandoval County, Rios was treasurer and administrator for the village of Corrales.
        "We have faith in you to get the job done," Madalena said.
        Sandoval County has until June 1 to submit a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 to the state Department of Finance and Administration.
        Rios was one of the candidates interviewed for the county manager's position in late 2008, but he lost out to Vigil.
        The commission voted on the county manager's job after holding a 50-minute closed-door session. During the session, they also discussed applicants who interviewed for the county attorney position.
        Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of Patrick Trujillo, who has been deputy county attorney for Bernalillo County.
        He will replace interim county attorney Stephanie Lopez, who was in that position since the summer of 2010 and was also interviewed for the job.
        The commission held the special meeting Friday, and the county has been without a manager since April 18, the deadline Madalena gave Vigil to vacate his office.
        The action was contentious because the commission conducted an evaluation of Vigil's performance behind closed doors without him being present. Commissioners Don Chapman, Glenn Walters and Madalena voted to terminate his contract.
        Commissioners Don Leonard and Orlando Lucero were opposed.
        Lopez told commissioners the decision could not stand, because Vigil's contract said he could be fired only by a "supermajority" vote of the five-member commission, which meant a 4-1 vote. Madalena nevertheless ruled the decision was final.
        On Thursday, Vigil's attorney, Daymon Ely, filed a lawsuit in 13th Judicial District Court in Sandoval County, claiming breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by the Sandoval County Commission and, specifically, commissioners Chapman, Walters and Madalena.

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