Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Mayor withdraws water authority executive director application

Staff report

Portales Mayor Sharon King, one of three finalists for the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority’s executive director job, has withdrawn her name from consideration, officials said.

Authority board member Juan Garza said he received an email from King on Tuesday afternoon announcing her decision.

“It was pretty brief, but she (said in the email) she didn’t want to create any more of an issue as to whether there was a conflict of interest,” Garza said. “She didn’t expect that to be an issue.”

In addition to being Portales’ mayor, King is vice chair of the water authority board, which will make the decision on hiring the director.

Clovis City Commissioner Chris Bryant was among those who said he had “some concerns” about King being considered for the job.

“She (King) did not think it would create so much political controversy,” board Chair Gayla Brumfield said. “She wants what’s best for the community, so she withdrew.”

The authority is responsible for the design, planning, construction, operation and maintaining of the Ute Water Project, which would pipe water from Ute Lake to Curry and Roosevelt counties.

King did not attend Tuesday’s meeting. She did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The board met for about an hour in executive session and took no action on selecting an executive director.

Brumfield said they will meet again Nov. 20 in Portales and the executive director’s position will again be on the agenda.

With King’s decision, the board has only two remaining finalists: Jim Blasing of Pueblo, Colorado, and Kenny Walker of Portales.

Blasing is public works director for the city of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Walker is recently retired from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and does conservation consulting work.

But Brumfield said she received another application on Tuesday and plans to talk with the candidate today. She declined to name the applicant, but said she is not local.

Garza said board members will discuss three options at the next meeting — advertise for more applicants, end the search and discuss which finalist is best for the job, or name a director.