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Judge to rule on recall petition

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Resident seeks to recall 3 county councilors for role in sheriff’s office decision

By Tris DeRoma

Los Alamos resident Greg White is petitioning the First Judicial Court to recall three Los Alamos County candidates for their part in “seeking and voting to eliminate the Los Alamos County Sheriff with an illegal resolution,” according to court documents.

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White is petitioning the court to recall councilors Antonio Maggiore, Rich Reiss and Susan O’Leary.

Judge David K. Thomson is reviewing the case following a hearing June 11 in Santa Fe. A decision is expected this week.

White claims the councilors failed to ask council to restore the sheriff’s budget and his staff, “thus depriving the plaintiff and all the citizens of Los Alamos County liberty, equal protection and privileges (they) were bound by law to provide in the election they supported Nov. 8 (2016), in which the citizens of Los Alamos voted to restore a functional sheriff’s office.”

White also said the councilors violated their oath of office under the U.S. and New Mexico constitutions “by doing away with the only elected executive branch county officer, the sheriff, by authorizing an illegal election, then ignoring the will of the people in that election by refusing to the budget, mandatory personnel, and staff of the sheriff’s office, there by effectively eliminating the executive branch of government in Los Alamos,” White said in his petition. “This is exactly the same as if the state legislature asked for a constitutional amendment to eliminate the judicial branch and when the people voted it down they claimed the people just want a figurehead so they fire the entire state’s court’s (sic) judge’s (sic) and staff and eliminate the judicial budget except for the salary of one judge.”

Reiss told the Monitor he believes White’s lawsuit has no merit, and the judge will rule in favor of the councilors.

“I believe Mr. White’s petition for recall is baseless, and we will learn soon whether he is authorized to collect signatures for a recall,” Reiss said.

White, who is trying to get more than 200 signatures from residents so he can run as an independent candidate for sheriff, has filed several lawsuits against the county and local elected officials for what he says are numerous violations of local state and federal laws. Most of the lawsuits have to do with issues he has with how the council has handled the Los Alamos County Sheriff’s Office issue.

In January, White filed an injunction against the Los Alamos County Council, the County of Los Alamos, the county manager, the Los Alamos County police chief and the county manager. White has accused the county of not following its own laws and ordinances concerning the Los Alamos County Sheriff’s Office. That lawsuit is still pending.

In March, White filed a recall petition against Los Alamos County Chair David Izraelevitz, claiming that he was running for a third term, which is illegal under state and local election laws. White claimed Izraelevitz was in violation of state election laws.

Izraelevitz was appointed in 2011 to fill the term of a councilor who left office early. In 2014, he ran for office and was elected. When Izraelevitz announced he was running for a second term, White filed his suit. The courts dismissed the suit because White wouldn’t have enough time to get the recall election in place before May 1.