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Even though elections were held last month, and new councilors were elected, the county council will have one more seat to fill, following a surprising announcement made during Tuesday night’s council meeting.
After public comments were heard, Chair Jim Hall announced that Councilor Jim West has rendered his resignation from the council effective immediately.
Hall read the letter of resignation that West submitted. In it, West stated that he had to resign because of a recently diagnosed illness. When contacted by phone, West confirmed the reason for his resignation, however, he would not elaborate on what sort of illness he’s suffering from or what sort of treatment he would receive to help fight it.
“I have an illness that requires immediate attention,” West said. “I have appointments with the doctors to begin planning for treatment.”
West has been on the council for six years and has two years left in his current term.
“It’s with the deepest regret that I have to resign to attend to treating the illness that I’ve been diagnosed with,” he said.
He also stated he would have liked very much to finish out his term because “there are so many good things going on that I’d have liked to have been a part of,” he said. “We have some very good councilors that are going to be on council and some new good people coming onto the council. I’m sure things will go along very well. They all care about the community and they want to do what’s best,” he continued.
Hall’s comments expressed how much he respects West and the work he’s done as a member of council. “I got to know Jim when I came on council in ’04 and I developed tremendous respect for him,” he said.
Hall also said West has been a leader on council, both as chair and as a member.
“He’s led in a number of areas, particularly in connecting Los Alamos to northern New Mexico and the rest of the state. He’s worked tirelessly to do that and I think he’s been very effective,” Hall continued.
He also said the council is going to miss West and that he will personally miss his presence at the weekly meetings.
“I wish him the best. In my mind, the best outcome would be that he’d be back running (for council) again,” Hall said.
The council will now be tasked with choosing a new councilor to fill the vacancy left by West.
Hall said the council will simply have to appoint someone to fill the position.
“The charter is clear. The council appoints one. Beyond that, there’s not a process,” he said.
When asked if council had any prospective candidates, Hall said that there have been a couple of suggestions, however, he feels that councilors need to discuss the prospects publicly before making a final decision.
Discussion regarding the new appointee will be held during next Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting.