Search begins for new municipal judge of Portales

If you're at least 18 years of age and a registered voter, you could be the next municipal judge of Portales.

Although those are the only requirements for the position, the Portales City Council wants interested candidates to say what qualifies them as it searches to replace Municipal Judge Fred Arnold, who will retire June 30, according to a letter he wrote to the council that was read by Portales Mayor Sharon King Tuesday at the council's meeting.

King was ready to ask for the approval of her appointee for interim judge, County Probate Judge Barbara George, before City Councilor Antonio Salguero told the council he knew of another interested party.

Salguero and other councilors were concerned that because it is an elected position, a search would only be fair.

"It seems like just the insiders know about (the vacancy) right now," said Ward C Councilor Leo Lovett. "At least we have a chance to see who's interested. I think we need to open it up and let interested parties know to submit a letter of interest for the judge."

City Attorney Randy Knudson added that if the council were to ask for letters from candidates, the letter should require more than just the candidate's interest.

"They shouldn't just express their interest but they should list why they're qualified," Knudson said.

Councilor Ronald Jackson said it would be best to just open the search and then review all the letters of interest at the next meeting.

Jackson, Salguero and Ward D Councilor Dianne Parker were selected to be on the committee to coordinate the selection process.

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