Assistant DA resigns to take commission seat

Former Aztec City Commissioner and a former assistant district attorney took County Commission seats this year following the November elections

Hannah Grover
San Juan County District 3 Commissioner Jim Crowley, left, and District 5 Commissioner John Beckstead are sworn in on Dec. 29 in Aztec.

FARMINGTON — An assistant district attorney has resigned after being elected to serve on the San Juan County Commission.

John Beckstead announced his resignation during a commission meeting on Tuesday. He said he now will be practicing law in the private sector. Beckstead has joined the Fortner Law Offices, where another county commissioner, Jack Fortner, also works.

Beckstead was required to resign from his position as assistant district attorney when he took the oath of office.

Beckstead is one of two new county commissioners. He replaced former Commissioner Keith Johns, who chose not to run for re-election. Aztec resident Jim Crowley ran unopposed, replacing former Commissioner Scott Eckstein. Eckstein also chose not to run for re-election.

Beckstead campaigned as a business-friendly candidate who would promote small business growth and improving the local economy. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

While this is Beckstead’s first foray into the political sphere, Crowley formerly served seven years on the Aztec City Commission. During that time, he also served as mayor pro-tem.

Crowley said the biggest challenge facing the county will be finances. He served on the City Commission during a similar economic downturn in 2008.

He highlighted water and wastewater infrastructure as important projects that he hopes to see become a reality in the future. During Tuesday's meeting, Crowley voted in favor of using capital outlay money to pay for water connection projects.

Tuesday was Crowley's first meeting as a county commissioner, but when reached by phone Friday, he said his experience as a city commissioner has prepared him for the task.

Crowley left the City Commission a few years ago. He said he decided to run for public office again because it is important for people to be involved in the decision-making processes of local governments.

"We have a good county," he said. "We have a great place to live."

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