The New Mexican

Three members of the Española City Council have filed complaints with state officials saying Mayor Javier Sanchez broke the law by intentionally bypassing the appointment and confirmation of the city manager, clerk, attorney and police chief during an April 21 meeting.

In their complaints, Councilors Peggy Sue Martinez, John Ramon Vigil and Tim Salazar said Sanchez skipped over those items on the council’s agenda because he argued the city needed to maintain continuity in its management team during the COVID-19 crisis.

Sanchez reiterated his position in an interview Friday. He said changing the city’s Cabinet during the pandemic would “risk our preparedness and capacity for tackling the challenges that [affect] our physical safety, health and financial well-being.” He also said he believed the complaints were politically motivated.

After the meeting, the three councilors filed formal complaints with State Auditor Brian Colón and Attorney General Hector Balderas.

In a letter Friday to the City Council and mayor, Colón asked them to “put their differences aside.”

“Especially during this public health crisis, it is incumbent on all elected public officials to seek common ground and strive to create a productive and transparent working relationship in order to meet the common mission of service to the community and avoid circumstances that unnecessarily elevate risk,” he wrote.

He also said he is “optimistic these issues can be addressed and rectified” during the council’s next meeting Tuesday.

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