On the night she was to be sworn in as the newest member of the Socorro Consolidated School Board, Lindsey Lopez' resignation was made public.
Lopez defeated incumbent Juan J.C. Trujillo by a mere 87 votes, 703 to 616 last November. Write-in candidate Hamdy Soliman finished third in the race for the District III post with 312 votes.
Lopez accepted a new position with the University of New Mexico. On her Facebook site, she indicated her family moved out of the Socorro Consolidated School District during the holidays and now resides in Albuquerque. That makes her ineligible to be a board member. Prior to new position, she was director of Midwest New Mexico CAP in Socorro.
The appointment of a new school board member to fill Lopez’ vacancy was on the board’s agenda Monday night.
Prior to any nominations, School Board Member Pauline Jaramillo suggested the board table the action until it receives legal direction.
Board President James Chavez said administration did call the state board director and as well as the school’s attorneys. He stated the board was in compliance to nominate and appoint someone Monday night.
Jaramillo said the board needs time to interview prospective nominations. “We need to follow the process. We have 32 days and we have the time to do it. We can have a special meeting on this. We need to be transparent to the people in the community.”
Jaramillo’s motion to table the discussion, died for a lack of a second. She then asked to see the information from the attorney. “Our board is in a rush to get this done,” she said, noting that transparency in the process was important as well as interviewing perspective candidates.
“We need to discuss this as a board,” Jaramillo said. “It’s not fair to give anyone else a chance. We will have people upset.”
Chavez responded, saying, “People did vote us in to make decisions like this.”
Newly elected Board Member Dave Hicks said, “We’ve all been notified and I think we’ve all been communicating.”
Taken back by Hicks’ comments Jaramillo questioned what board members he’d communicated with.
“I agree transparency is an important thing. And there would be some people who would be interesting candidates,” said newly elected Board Member Michael Hargather. “I’d like to hear the nomination for candidates and see if we have people who are acceptable.”
A second motion to take nominations, then interview candidates died when the vote tied at 2-2.
At that point, Hicks nominated New Mexico Tech Physics Professor and Storm Force Director Sharon Sessions. His nomination was seconded by Hargather.
In a roll call vote, Hicks, Hargather and Chavez voted to affirm Sessions as the new Socorro Consolidated School Board member for a two-year term. Jaramillo cast the dissenting vote, noting she felt the board should follow a process to appoint a new board member.
In other business, the board:
• Elected James Chavez as board president, Dave Hicks as Vice-President and Michael Hargather as Secretary.