Sheri Rogers required to step down because of pending retirement from job at county police and fire dispatch center

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FARMINGTON — Aztec City Commissioner Sheri Rogers has submitted a letter of resignation after learning that the Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico requires that she resign as a commissioner because she is retiring from her county job at the police and fire dispatch center.

Rogers' last day on the City Commission will be April 28. She retires as a dispatcher on May 1.

Rogers said while learning about PERA requirements, she began to suspect that she no longer would be able to serve as a commissioner. She recently learned that she would have had to be excluded from PERA during her first two years as a commissioner if she was going to serve as a commissioner following her county retirement. She said she had not realized that when she was elected in 2014.

"I figured, as an elected official, there would be an exemption," she said.

The requirements will allow her to run for a commission seat again in March or apply to be appointed to the commission. Both of those are options Rogers is considering.

"(The commission) seems like a pretty strong team right now," she said.

This is not the first time a vacancy has developed on the commission because of a resignation. Former Commissioner Gene Current was appointed after another commissioner resigned. City Manager Joshua Ray said the commissioners will evaluate applications from candidates and choose someone to take Rogers' place.

Rogers said she initially ran for the commission because she was concerned about the city potentially getting rid of its police department and contracting with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office for that service. The city has continued to maintain an independent police department, and Rogers has recently advocated for increasing the number of officers.

"I am always in support of additional manpower," she said, adding that a strong, proactive police department is the best way to prevent crime.

Rogers said two of the commission's accomplishments that she is most proud of are keeping the Hidden Valley Golf Course open and opening the business incubator, or HUB.

She said she didn't necessarily believe the golf course needed to be owned by the city. Instead, she felt it was important to have a golf course in the community.

"I wanted to make sure we kept it open and available," she said.

Rogers also has a lot of hope for the HUB, which is intended to promote economic development in the city.

"It takes businesses to keep the city active and thriving," she said.

Rogers likely will have to compete against other candidates for the commission seat if she runs again or applies for appointment. She had one piece of advice for the next commissioner.

"I think it's important to investigate anything that you don't understand before forming an opinion," she said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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