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Selvage resignation rocks county council

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County: Process to appoint Selvage’s replacement will be decided Tuesday

By Arin McKenna

Los Alamos County Council members who could be reached for comment seemed shell-shocked by Vice Chair Ron Selvage’s resignation.

Selvage submitted his letter of resignation to Council Chair Sharon Stover Thursday evening, shortly after information surfaced regarding an indiscretion with a woman during a trip to Sarov, Russia, as part of the Los Alamos Sarov Sister City Initiative last September. Selvage was representing the county on that visit.

In his resignation letter, Selvage stated, “I am submitting my resignation from the Los Alamos County Council. I have enjoyed working with you and the rest of council for the past year and a half, but I feel it is best to resign from council now to attend to personal matters with my family.”

Selvage could not be reached for comment.

“I have enjoyed working with Ron over the last two years on council, and have known the Selvages for many years outside of council business,” Council Chair Sharon Stover said.

“Ron and I have worked on different committees, initiatives and projects together. I always found his insights to be thoughtful and with an eye toward moving our community forward.

“However, being a councilor is a demanding, time-consuming position, and so I respect his decision to resign in order to take some time to focus on his personal life right now. I would hope that the community would respect his action and support the council as we move ahead to design a process to fill his vacancy on Tuesday evening.”

“I’m very disappointed in the things that happened that caused the resignation. It’s sad, Councilor Fran Berting said. “He brought a slightly different point of view to many things we were looking at, and that’s always good. He was not a rubber stamper.”

Councilor Mike Wismer’s only response was, “My thoughts are with Ron and Kim and their children as they work through this difficult situation.”

State Rep. Jim Hall (R-Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Sandoval and Rio Arriba), who served with Selvage on council, was asked to comment.

“Given the issues that I’m sure are facing Ron and his family and given the demands that serving on council puts on a person, I think it’s appropriate. Council takes a lot of time and energy and focus,” Hall said.

“My heart and my hopes go out to Ron and his family. There’s no way to characterize this except as a tragedy, and I hope for the best for everyone concerned,” Hall continued. “I hope everybody will give all those involved the benefit of the doubt and as much privacy and good will as possible, so they can work out the issues. “

When asked to characterize Selvage’s contributions, Hall responded, “Ron came on the council as a laboratory group leader and as a small businessman, and I think he brought a useful and valuable perspective to the council.”

The county’s charter requires that council appoint a “qualified person” to fill the remainder of Selvage’s term, which expires Dec. 13, 2014. A qualified person is defined as a qualified voter who resides in Los Alamos County and is not otherwise employed by the county.

Council addresses selecting a replacement for Selvage at its Aug. 7 meeting. The staff report recommends running advertisements to solicit letters of interest, with a deadline of Aug. 28 and a special council session on Sept. 6 to select a candidate.

Council will also elect a new vice chair during its meeting Tuesday.