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County proclaims days for six retiring officials

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An unusual year for Chaves County was capped off this month by the farewells of six senior officials, who have retired or come to the end of their terms of office.

“It is not typical,” said Human Resources Director Susan Goldstrom about the number of retirements announced for the end of the year. “It just happened that many of our senior management have been here a long time.”

Four senior employees were recognized during the past two months for their retirement in November or December. They are Clay Corn, former head of the Chaves County Detention Center, who worked with the county for 25 years; Ron Lethgo, chief deputy assessor who also has been elected as assessor a few times, retiring after almost 40 years with the county; Stanton Riggs, the county attorney and county manager who has worked with Chaves County for more than 27 years; and Joe Sedillo, chief financial officer and finance director for 14 years.

In addition, Commissioner Robert Corn and County Clerk Dave Kunko have come to the end of their terms in elected office. State law allows county officials to serve only two consecutive terms for a total of eight years. They must be out of office at least one term before seeking re-election.

Corn, who served as chairman of the board of commissioners for three years, was elected as District 4 commissioner in 2012 and 2016. He also was a Chaves County magistrate judge for 15 years, starting in 1995, and a four-term state representative during the 1980s. Kunko had worked with the county for 25 years, including three terms as county clerk.

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Goldstrom said that some new appointments already have been made. Anabel Barraza is the new chief financial officer. Daniel Ornelas will serve as the Detention Center administrator. Sandra Stewart has been selected by County Assessor Mark Willard as the new chief deputy assessor. Bill Williams has been named interim county manager.

All retiring officials were recognized at the November or December meetings of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners with proclamations that named a day in their honor.

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