The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

City of Portales faces staffing issue

The building inspector can no longer oversee multiple fields, according to state law.


January 11, 2018

PORTALES — A state law could potentially be keeping the city of Portales from hiring a new building inspector, City Manager Sammy Standefer told the city council Tuesday.

Standefer said that in late 2017, one of the city’s inspectors resigned. When Standefer later informed the director of the New Mexico Construction Industries Division about the opening, he received a shock.

“At that time, they informed us that in order for us to refill the inspector position, that we must, at that time, hire for all the trainings. That would be mechanical, plumbing, electrical, gas, as well as building inspector,” he said. “All these positions would have to be held by a different individual, not one person containing the multiple fields.”

Standefer was informed that this requirement was NMCID’s interpretation of state statute. He told the council he had requested the department to confirm the statute in writing several times without a response.

“At this particular time, what we anticipate is we do feel like we need that position. We would like to pursue a little more aggressive approach, and really make them answer one way or another,” he said.

Councilor Jessica Smith inquired about the possibility of contracting with other communities to fill those positions, to which Standefer said there is no clear path ahead.

“I think it is possible, but there’s gonna be some hoops to jump through as well. I don’t think there’s a paved road for us to immediately jump on that,” he said.

Councilor Michael Miller suggested taking the upcoming legislative session as an opportunity to question officials about the law.

“My comment would be that we have a legislative session starting next Tuesday, and there should be opportunities that we’re gonna be in Santa Fe, and I really think that we need to take the time and sit down with our delegation and explain the issue,” Miller said.

The presentation of the statute was an informational item, and no action was taken.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

n Councilors approved the execution of a $1 million loan agreement between the city of Portales and the New Mexico Finance Authority for the construction of a new fire substation.

The agreement returned to the council after being approved at a previous meeting because of a mistake on the part of NMFA, according to Standefer.

n Clovis Police Department Chief Doug Ford presented the Portales Police Department with a plaque for its assistance during the Clovis-Carver Public Library shooting in August.

“I really appreciate them being there. It really shows a team effort we show in this area, in the smaller communities that we all live in,” Ford said.

n Councilors approved the purchase of a new vehicle for the Portales Area Transit System.

The vehicle will be acquired with a state grant of $60,000, including a local match of $12,000, according to Chief Procurement Officer Carla Weems.


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