County Clerk resigns

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By The Staff

County Clerk Mary Pat Kraemer resigned her position, making it effective as of last Monday.

County Council Vice-Chair Mike Wismer said Wednesday that Kraemer forwarded her letter of resignation to the council Tuesday evening.

Kraemer’s resignation was related to complicated laws governing retirement while holding public office, he said.

Although Kraemer had attempted to resolve her situation with the state, Wismer said information received Tuesday from PERA officials indicated that she needed to resign immediately, or she’d be forced to forfeit her retirement funds until the end of her term – some three years away.

“I’ve known Mary Pat since I first moved to Los Alamos 10 years ago,” Wismer said. “My son played hockey and she was the community services director for the county. She’s done very credible work for the county for many, many years and it’s a shame she has to leave like this.”

Wismer is acting chair standing in during Chair Michael Wheeler’s absence. Wismer issued a statement Wednesday afternoon speaking on behalf of the council about Kraemer’s sudden announcement.

“Mary Pat has been a truly loyal county employee for many years. She has served this community with the utmost pride and dedication to her job in many capacities – first as library manager, then as community services director,” he said. “We were all very pleased when she was re-elected last year as county clerk. She will be sorely missed.”

Wismer added that he knows this was a difficult situation for Kraemer and that she did everything she could to address it so she could remain in office. We understand and support her decision, which she said she felt was the best option she had at this time with her family,” Wismer said.

Kraemer could not be immediately reached for comment.

Assistant County Administrator Diana Stepan said under New Mexico State Statute, Chief Deputy Clerk Sheryl Nichols has the ability to act on behalf of the county clerk until the council can take appropriate action to appoint a replacement.

Kraemer, who is paid $50 per hour not to exceed $6,000 annually, worked out details of that transition with her staff Monday before leaving office.

Wismer placed the appointment of Kraemer’s replacement on the council’s Sept. 15 meeting agenda.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in County Council Chambers at 20th Street and Central Avenue, broadcast live on PAC 8 and streamed at pac8.org.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or (505) 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her newsblog at www,newsextras.wordpress.com.