Knudson to serve as county attorney

Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

Roosevelt County commissioners approved to contracting with Randy Knudson to serve as the county attorney until the end of the fiscal year (June 30) despite resistance from county commissioner Tom Clark.

Commissioners approved 4-1 to renew the contract for Knudson.

Clark voted against the measure because he said is dissatisfied with Knudson’s performance when asked for legal advice. Knudson turned in his letter of resignation prior to the Oct. 18 commissioners meeting, but after later meeting with county administrator Charlene Hardin to discuss his scope of work and hours he offered his services for another year.

“I have a problem with his resignation,” Clark said. “I’m tired of operating in the gray area.”

Clark said other individuals should have been allowed to enter a bid to provide the services.

Initially county officials were going to issue a request for proposals for the attorney services. However, Hardin said under the procurement code from the state of New Mexico regarding professional services, county officials did not have to go out for RFP.

Hardin said RFPs are not necessary if the cost of a professional service is below $30,000 a year. Hardin said Knudson would make approximately $22,000 a year.
“I’m pleased with his work,” Hardin said. “We’re (county administration) happy with his services. If we were unhappy with his services or they (attorneys) did a terrible job we would not renew the contract or (would) go out for proposals.”

Hardin added an individual providing professional services to the county could have their contract renewed up to four years. At that point, the county is required to go out for proposals.

• Clark, county commissioner, said he is still unhappy with the way road funds are being distributed.
“It (change) has been illegal for the entire year,” Clark said. “The commission needs to take action to withdraw the 25 percent (breakdown).”

Commissioners kept the road fund distribution change they had made and did not vote on any changes to it. The road fund distribution was changed from miles per district to 25 percent each for four of the five districts. Clark said his district is losing money because of this change and that it is unfair.

Discussion about the distribution, upset Alva Carter, a dairyman, who was present during the meeting. Carter said he paid for 80 percent of road construction to a road leading to his dairy and was promised the county would finish that project.

“I don’t care about this bickering, about the 25 percent,” Carter said. “They (road department workers) shorted me 1/8 of a mile on the road. I’m one of the largest taxpayers in his (Clark’s) county.”

The road is located southeast of Portales and is along the border which divides District 2 and 3.

According to the minutes from the Dec. 21, 2004 county meeting, commissioners approved the motion that all monies including C.A.P.S., Co-Op and School Bus are included in the distribution change along with capital outlay monies.

The motion changed the distribution from miles per county to 25 percent for districts 2, 3, 4 and 5. District 1 lies within Portales city limits and Dennis Lopez, county commissioner said he was trying to help other districts in need, but on Tuesday said he might reconsider the distribution change.

Clark and Paul Grider voted against the change last year, while Gene Creighton, Lopez and Chad Davis (commissioner at the time), voted for the change.

• County commissioners decided to table a request from the Roosevelt General Hospital for approximately $66,000 for the Sole Community Provider program. If approved, Roosevelt County officials would pay $264,538, but they would be reimbursed by the hospital for everything except for $66,000.

Clark and commissioner Dennis Lopez took issue with the continuing increase in the amount they have to pay. Last year, commissioners approved a SCP payment of $52,000. Clark said the payment amount has increased each year from the first request from the hospital which was for $16,000.

John Murray, Roosevelt General Hospital business office manager, said without the SCP program the county would have to pay larger amounts for indigent claims. Through the SCP program the hospital and county will pay $264,538. Based on the matching requirements the state would pay two-thirds for a grand total of $916,942 in the program for the fiscal year of July 1 until June 30, 2007.

Some commissioners feel they could pay what they paid last year and the hospital representatives could make up the difference with their revenue.

•County commissioners voted 4-1 to allow a deputy to take his patrol car to his residence in Clovis at night. Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Rick Short said this may also work as an incentive to attract applicants to work for the sheriff’s department. Creighton voted against the measure.

• Short informed the commissioners that the department is staffed with nine deputies. However, one deputy is out on maternity leave, another deputy broke his arm and is on medical leave. Another deputy will start the academy in January.

David Sanders, county commissioner, said there was an incident in which a person called in to report their calf had been struck by a vehicle and a Portales police officer had to respond and wait for state police. Sanders said there should be night patrol from the sheriff’s department.

Short said they are planning to start the night patrol again in January.

Short also reported that the deputies are helping the Portales Police Department with Operation Santa Cop. Short said the deputies will be delivering to 20 families and 50 children throughout the county this week through the program. There will be more than 350 children who will receive toys through the program.
The next county meeting is Jan. 10.