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1:20pm — Chaves Commissioner Ousted

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Part-time Roswell resident ordered off county commission.


Sue Gutierrez said Thursday she will appeal a Jan. 12 ruling by state District Judge Jay Forbes knocking her off the Chaves County Commission because she no longer meets the constitutional requirement that she live in the district she represents, the Roswell Daily Record is reporting on its Web site.

Gutierrez has acknowledged commuting back and forth between Roswell and Midland, Texas, where her husband and children have moved, and has maintained her legal residency by living with a friend in Roswell, being registered to vote in Roswell and having New Mexico car registration and driver’s license, the Daily Record reported.

Forbes, however, ruled that Gutierrez’s part-time residence in Roswell was "a subterfuge calculated to hold her position on the Chaves County Commission," the paper reported.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed in October by Roswell businessman Virgil Beagles who asserted that Gutierrez was violating residency requirements, according to the Daily Record.

Beagles told the paper on Thursday that if the county fails to make Gutierrez return her commission paychecks since August, he will bring further legal action.

Meanwhile, the Chaves County Commission will hold a special meeting Monday morning to suggest names to pass on to Gov. Bill Richardson for replacing Gutierrez, Commissioner Alice Eppers told news director Mike Jaxson of radio stations KSVP-KTZA-KPZE in Artesia and Carlsbad.

Richardson, a Democrat, will name a replacement to fill out the remainder of Gutierrez’s term. Gutierrez, a Republican, would have been up for re-election in November, the Daily Record reported.