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FARMINGTON — Although one candidate hoping to replace city Councilor Dan Darnell is off the list, Mayor Tommy Roberts says the other eight are highly qualified and present a difficult choice.

"There's not any one of them who is unqualified to serve on city Council," he said.

In early July, Darnell told The Daily Times that he and his family are moving to Rio Rancho where he will seek a master's degree in public administration at the University of New Mexico. He plans to leave by Aug. 15, and that's when the new councilor will step in to serve the rest of the term.

The nine people who submitted applications to replace Darnell are Wilma Redhorse Charley, Keith Corley, Douglas D. Dykeman, Thomas Hawkins, David J. Holmes, Mark McCloskey, Linda Rodgers, David L. Stock and Johnny D. Adams.

Last week, Roberts interviewed all the candidates except for Adams, who failed to show for his interview and is now eliminated from consideration. Numerous efforts on Monday to reach Adams for comment were unsuccessful.

Roberts said the rest of the applicants are strong candidates, and choosing just one to serve the remaining six and one-half months of Darnell's term will be difficult.

"I just really need to take a look at those applications in more detail, review the interviews again and do some calling," he said.

Darnell serves District 1, which encompasses the city south of Main Street and from Lake Street to the city's eastern limits. It also includes most of downtown Farmington to Apache Street, including Ricketts Park.

Whoever replaces Darnell, if that person decides to continue in the position, will have to run for the seat in the March 1 election next year. Also in that election, voters will chose someone to represent District 2, a seat currently held by Councilor Mary Fischer.

Roberts is scheduled to appoint Darnell's replacement in an Aug. 11 regular council meeting, and the councilors will confirm or deny the recommendation.

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and dschwartz@daily-times.com. Follow him @dtdschwartz on Twitter.

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