The same day newly elected Lovington City Commissioner Howard “Robbie” Roberts was sworn in, he was also elected as Lovington’s mayor by the other commissioners.
But that move was not without the ruffling of feathers of some of the other commissioners.
After the swearing in of Roberts in District 3, and Lizabeth White in District 5, along with Municipal Judge Barbara Campbell, White nominated Roberts for the position of mayor. Commissioner David Trujillo, District 1, seconded the nomination of Roberts. Commissioner Scott Gandy, District 4, was the only dissenting vote.
Roberts then took the mayor’s position in the commission chambers and called for mayor pro-tem nominations.
Commissioner Scott Boldt, District 2, nominated Gandy, and White nominated Trujillo as mayor protem. With no other seconds, Roberts seconded Trujillo’s nomination as mayor pro-tem.
Trujillo was then elected 3-2, with Gandy and Boldt voting against him.
Roberts first action as mayor was to read a fair housing proclamation, then continue on with the agenda for the meeting as prepared.
Trujillo, who is in his 18th year on the commission — three times having served as mayor, and now in his second time of being named mayor pro-tem — told the News-Sun after the meeting he is excited for what the new members of the commission bring to the table.
“They’re coming in with fresh ideas, they’re hungry, and they have a lot of energy,” said Trujillo. “The thing I like about Robbie and Liz is they have shown a lot of respect to what has happened in the last two years — going through COVID and all the changes. They’ve acknowledge the hardships and all the city has gone through and what role I played and how I conducted business in order for us (the City of Lovington) to be where we’re at.”
Trujillo, when first elected, was the youngest elected commissioner in Lovington at age 36, and the youngest appointed mayor at 38, and said it’s nice to see the energy in the two newly-elected members and remembered bringing the same kind of enthusiasm to the commission.
“They’re ready to listen and coming in with ideas. I definitely support Robbie 100 percent. We might not agree on everything, but I plan on working with him as much as I possibly can. … I’m very excited for both of them (White and Roberts) to be coming on board.”
After all action items were dealt with, and Gandy noting the meeting was taking so long commissioners might not make it to any Lovington restaurants before they closed for the night, commissioners went into closed session to discuss personnel matters in the fire department, before coming back into open session to close the meeting.
And the fireworks from earlier weren’t finished.
When Roberts adjourned the meeting, Gandy took exception to the way Roberts closed the meeting without a roll-call vote.
“Robbie didn’t do a roll call, he just said, ‘I adjourn the meeting.’ Scotty and Boldt jumped up and said that’s not the way we do it,” Trujillo recalled.
Roberts replied he and White had just completed a class on municipal proceedings and the method of closing a meeting by the mayor adjourning the meeting is acceptable.
In other business commissioners:
• Discussed the Lodger’s Tax Board position.
• Discussed hiring a projects and systems administer.
• Discussed the 4th of July Firework Show, including costs and options.
• Heard from Lovington City Manager Vidal Martinez that code enforcement was being separated from animal control and reorganized under the police department.
• Approved appointments to the Solid Waste Authority, Parks and Recreation Board, and Community Improvement Corporation.
• Approved resolutions creating grant agreements between the state and city for downtown water line replacement, with a capital outlay appropriation of $807,629, and a municipal water tower design with a capital outlay appropriation of about $70,000.
• Approved an ordinance creating regulations for water conservation. That ordinance basically replicates a similar ordinance in Hobbs.
• Heard the city’s financial report from Lovington Treasurer Tayni Kennedy.
The next regularly scheduled Lovington City Commission meeting is at 5:30 p.m. on April 25.