Treasurer not required to resign

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico

Curry County Treasurer Rhonda Bookout is not required to resign after being indicted Friday on the charge of tampering with public records, according to the New Mexico Association of Counties.

Though she has elected to go on administrative leave, she is still county treasurer, said Steve Kopelman, general counsel for the association.

Unless she is convicted of the charges, citizens of the county would have to request her removal, he said.

“If (Bookout) removes herself from office, resigns her office — or if she is removed from office — at that point the board of county commissioners has the authority under state law to name a replacement,” Kopelman said.

While Bookout is on leave, Chief Deputy Treasurer Bernice Baker will handle responsibilities of treasurer and run the office with the assistance of County Finance Manager Mark Lansford, according to County Manager Lance Pyle.

A grand jury indicted Bookout as part of an investigation into approximately $11,000 in unaccounted-for fair funds, according to District Attorney Matt Chandler.