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County manager formally announces resignation

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Stanton Riggs, at a Thursday Board of Commissioners meeting, has worked for Chaves County for more than 27 years. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Chaves County Manager Stanton Riggs has made what was widely known official, he is retiring from the county after more than a quarter of a century.

Riggs said Thursday during the regular Chaves County Board of Commissioners meeting that he had formalized a decision that most people had known for months was coming.

“I tendered my letter of resignation today to retire at the end of December, which would be 27 and a half years,” he said. “As you know, my wife has a job in Albuquerque and we moved into a home finally in Albuquerque, so I am just letting everybody know. It is the worst kept secret I know in the county.”

Kea Riggs was appointed in May 2019 by the Trump Administration and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Dec. 19 to serve as one of seven judges with the U.S. District Court in New Mexico. A New Mexico Military Institute high school graduate, she had been a judge in Chaves County with the New Mexico 5th Judicial District Court since August 2014.

Stanton Riggs said he expects that he will do legal work with cities and counties after his move north.

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Prior to becoming the county’s chief officer in September 2002, Riggs had served as the county attorney and sometimes as the interim county manager. He joined Chaves County in June 1993.

The county manager works on contract and is chosen by the Chaves County Board of Commissioners. Chairman Will Cavin said that commissioners have talked a bit about how to fill the vacancy and expects more options to be discussed during November or December meetings.

He said alternatives include appointing an interim county manager while the commissioners choose someone to fill the spot permanently or asking Riggs to remain on retainer to assist the county until a successor is selected.

Both Stanton Riggs and Kea Riggs earned their law degrees from the University of Oklahoma. Riggs then served as a municipal prosecutor for the city of Moore, Oklahoma. His next position was as a lawyer with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps at White Sands Missile Range.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.