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

Commission votes to retain management


December 4, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Curry County Commissioner Seth Martin gives county coins to members of the Melrose football team as a token of congratulations for winning the eight-man state title. The commission also honored the Texico volleyball team for its Class 2A title.

CLOVIS - If a unanimous vote could be done begrudgingly, it certainly was Tuesday morning at a brief Curry County Commission meeting.

By a 4-0 vote, with reservations noted, the commission approved a deal to retain Spectra for management of the Curry County Events Center and Fairgrounds.

Commission Chair Chet Spear told Keller Taylor, a district general manager for Spectra, that he was "on the fence" about retaining the management services. He complimented Spectra on its past few months of events center improvements, but said he feared those moves could be temporary actions done mainly to secure its newest contract.

"I just hope you do what you've been doing for the last two months," Spear said.

Commissioner Seth Martin said he felt the commission was under an obligation to accept the deal with Spectra because nobody else responded to the county's request for proposal process and nothing during the RFP process disqualified Spectra. He said communication with vendors, maintenance and upkeep had been poor. Just before the vote, he did soften his comments by noting there were opportunities for improvement.

Commissioner Robert Thornton made no remarks during the agenda item, but had said at the commission's prior meeting that it needed to focus on long-term customers and aim to not price entities out of using the events center.

The contract calls for a $7,000 monthly management fee, 20% of gross revenue generated by the facility in excess of $600,000 and up to $12,000 in other incentives. Spear said he didn't believe in incentives for things that should be covered in the job description like creation of an annual budget or effective staff training.

Spear noted the commission was not privy to the conversations that take place during the RFP process. County Finance Director Carol Pipes noted that commissioners have the opportunity to set parameters for proposals when they authorize the RFP process.

Taylor noted before the vote that Spectra was committed to the operational efficiency of the properties, and that he believed Curry County was a great partner.

In other business during the Tuesday meeting:

• The commission issued proclamations congratulating the Texico High volleyball team for its Class 2A title and the Melrose High football team for its eight-man state title. The proclamations encouraged county residents to wear green to support Texico on Thursday and maroon to support Melrose on Monday.

• The commission approved using the Napoli Law Firm for representation in a tort claim against the federal government for groundwater contamination related to the Air Force's decades-long use of firefighting foams.

County Attorney Steve Doerr noted Napoli was helping his firm represent the Schaap family and Highland Dairy in its claim against the federal government, the Department of Defense and the Air Force.

The county would not bear any costs if legal action is unsuccessful.

• Detention Center Administrator Mark Gallegos addressed the commission on various efforts at the jail. He detailed various programs intended to reduce recidivism, and shared that the jail had hired 16 employees to cut its vacancy number to four. There were two resignations, Gallegos said, but he supported those resignations because one joined the military and another intended to become a pastor.

Spear was thankful for the efforts, noting, "Retention is critical because it costs so much time and money to train these young folks. You hate to train them and then lose them."

• Commissioners approved a disaster declaration resulting from heavy rains in early October and the damage they caused. Road Superintendent Walon Jones said the two biggest problem areas were Curry Road 22, which was closed in portions, and Curry Road D, which has lost nearly 1.5 miles of caliche.

Any money the county receives from the state would require a 25% match, though the contribution could be in-kind.

• The commission, following a recommendation by a viewer's committee and Jones, closed the portion of Curry Road 38 between Curry Roads E and F.

• The commission met in executive session for about half an hour to discuss property acquisition or disposal, and took no action after reconvening in open session.

• The next meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 17 at the Curry County Administrative Complex.


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