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Lawyer’s appointment to county board approved

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Lawyer Kelly Cassels is the newest member of the Chaves County Labor Management Relations Board. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Kelly Cassels will serve as the third member of the Chaves County Labor Management Relations Board as it decides matters related to a petition for a union to represent Sheriff’s department officers.

His nomination, recommended by the two current members of the board at an Oct. 12 meeting, was made official by the Chaves County Board of Commissioners. All five commissioners voted unanimously Thursday morning to accept Cassels’ nomination.

Cassels is a lawyer with Sanders, Bruin, Coll and Worley in Roswell. According to the firm’s website, he has been practicing law since 1990 and holds a bachelor’s degree and juris doctorate from Texas Tech University. He practices in areas concerning oil and gas, agriculture, water and corporate and commercial matters.

“He has been very, very involved in our community, in community Bible study and working with youth and such,” said Chaves County Manager Stanton Riggs. “He is overall a very good individual, and we think it is a good recommendation by the board.”

Cassels joins David Parsons, left, and George Mata on the Chaves County Labor Management Relations Board following a Thursday vote by county commissioners. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Cassels joins as a neutral party. He will serve with David Parsons, a retired business executive and former state legislator, represents management, and George Mata, a retired firefighter and former union employee, represents labor.

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The Chaves County Labor Management Relations Board convenes as necessary to consider issues between employees and county management.

The matter before the board now is a petition filed Sept. 20 by a Carlsbad attorney in which some employees of the Chaves County Sheriff’s Department have asked to be represented by the International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO, in compensation negotiations or other work-related issues.

County officials have said that about 34 deputies, sergeants, detectives and animal control officers could be affected by the decision.

The Labor Management Relations Board is scheduled to meet again at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the Chaves County Administrative Center.

Riggs previously has said that the board might need to consider some procedural matters before “counting cards.” That is where board members will verify the signature cards submitted with the petition to determine if at least 30 percent of eligible Sheriff’s department employees have indicated a desire to hold a vote about union representation. According to the petition, 19 employees, or about 56 percent of those eligible, have signed cards.