Eileen Sedillo stepped down Tuesday as chairman of the Lincoln County Commission and Vice Chairman Jackie Powell took over her gavel.
Although Sedillo only mentioned personal reasons for the move two and a half months before the end of her term on the board, her family has been plagued over the past year by health issues.
"I just want to say I'm relinquishing the chair because of personal reasons," she said. "I don't want it to appear that I am doing something ahead of time since there are just two and a half months until the end of my term. Without going into the personal reasons, I'm afraid I won't be able to be here a lot, and I feel I should step down. It's a normal procedure that the vice chair should take over as chairman. We should elect a vice chairman for the next 2 1/2 months. In January, (two new members will be sworn into office as well as Powell, who was reelected for a second term) and the new board will chose a chairman and vice chairman at that time."
Speaking by conference call, Commissioner Tom Battin, whose second term also ends Dec. 31, offered a motion nominating Powell as chairman to serve for the rest of the calendar year, which was seconded by Sedillo.
Commissioner Kathryn Minter said she had the same concerns as Sedillo and didn't want to make the action seems like that of a lame duck board trying to fix something for January. She asked County Attorney Alan More if the commission could simply keep Powell as vice chairman and allow her
"She's done a great job filling in, in the past," Minter said.
Morel said while that arrangement is permissible, the downside is if Powell was absent, the board would not have a vice chairman as backup.
The vote to accept Sedillo's resignation and appoint Powell as chairman until the end of the calendar year was unanimous.
"I think we also need to appoint a vice chairman because of the same issue," Morel said. "I don't know why we didn't think to put it on the agenda (of the special meeting that day). We will meet in week or so. We'll put it on next agenda."
"I've enjoyed serving as chairman," Sedillo said. "Thank you very much."
Moving into the chairman's seat, Powell said, "I could never be as good as Eileen, but here we go."