Newcomers seize leadership positions in city of Aztec

New Commissioner Victor Snover chosen as mayor

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Judge Carlton Gray administers the oath of office to Victor Snover Monday at Aztec City Hall. Snover was appointed mayor during the commission meeting.
  • Commissioners Sherri Sipe and Austin Randall voted against the appointments of Snover and Rosalyn Fry as mayor and mayor pro-tem.
  • The three newcomers had discussed appointing one of them to the mayor position prior to the meeting Monday.
  • U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., sent a representative to congratulate the newly elected commissioners.

AZTEC — Aztec Mayor Victor Snover says he has a lot to learn in his new position.

The Aztec High School JROTC coach who has more than 20 years of military experience admitted Monday that his first City Commission meeting as mayor was a little rough.

Snover was appointed to the mayor position in a 3-2 vote of commissioners. The newcomers to the commission voted for his appointment while the two incumbents voted against it.

“I’m very excited, I’m very happy, I’m nervous, but I feel like we have plenty of knowledge and experience here to help shepherd me along until I get my feet under me and the jitters and the nerves kind of go away,” Snover told The Daily Times in reaction to being appointed mayor.

Commissioner Sherri Sipe, who previously served as mayor pro-tem, provided Snover with that guidance during the meeting.

In one instance during the meeting, Snover said he had thought the commission would go into closed session to discuss the boards they wanted to serve on before making the appointments. Sipe explained that the commission can only go into closed session if it is listed on the agenda. Sipe said the commission can only go into closed session to discuss certain topics, like personnel matters.

Sipe was the first person nominated for the mayor position. Commissioner Austin Randall nominated Sipe, citing her experience. Sipe has served on the City Commission since 2008. When none of the three newcomers seconded Randall’s motion to appoint Sipe, the motion died, and Snover was nominated.

Randall and Sipe both voted against Snover’s appointment.

Similarly, when Randall and Sipe nominated each other for mayor pro-tem, the motions died after none of the three newcomers seconded the motions. Commissioner Rosalyn Fry was then appointed mayor pro-tem.

Commissioners Mark Lewis, left, Austin Randall, Victor Snover, Sherri Sipe and Rosalyn Fry take a seat on Monday at Aztec City Hall.

When asked about her decision to support Snover rather than Sipe for mayor, Fry said she voted for Snover because she is looking forward to new leadership and new ideas.

Snover said he was not surprised when the other two newly elected commissioners nominated him for mayor and voted him into the position.

“When we were running our campaigns, we did discuss it,” Snover said. “You know, if we all win, does one of us want to be the mayor?”

He said his victory didn’t become real until election results were finalized.

“We didn’t get too excited because we honestly did not know for sure if this was going to be the result,” Snover said about the early discussions regarding selecting a new mayor.

 At that point, Snover said they began speaking in earnest about which of them would be interested in being mayor.

Commissioners Mark Lewis and Fry said they were not interested in the seat.

“People had asked me to consider mayor, and I really didn’t want to,” Fry said.

She said she was comfortable with being the mayor pro-tem.

“It wasn’t a huge surprise that they were going to support me,” Snover said.

He said he was interested in being a mayor because he has learned that “opportunities don’t always show up twice.”

“I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity,” Snover said.

While the municipal elections are nonpartisan, and candidates do not run under a party affiliation, all three of the newly elected officials are members of the Democratic Party. Brian Lee, the field representative for U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-NM, attended the commission meeting. Lee congratulated the newcomers on Lujan’s behalf for their election victory.

“I know that great things await for you in this fine city of Aztec,” Lee said.

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