Skip to Content

Chaos At Sunland Park Meeting But Still No Mayor

Every Sunland Park City Council meeting seems wilder than the last, and it looked like Friday evening’s meeting was on track to fit the pattern.

The meeting was set up in the courtyard outside Sunland Park City Hall in order to accommodate a larger crowd and comply with the Open Meetings Act. Officials had about 155 chairs outside and a sound system so everyone could hear.

The courtyard outside Sunland Park City Hall became a raucous scene Friday afternoon after City Clerk Liz Gamez was fired by Mayor Pro Tem Isabel Santos just a few hours before Friday’s meeting designed to appoint a new mayor.

ABC-7 crews were at the scene as Gamez was escorted out of City Hall by two police officers. She did not have any comment.

Santos told ABC-7 she fired Gamez because Gamez disobeyed her multiple times, including scheduling Friday’s meeting against Santos’ orders.

Santos’ actions left city councilors and residents calling her irresponsible and unprofessional.

City Councilor Carmen Rodriguez said Santos does not have the authority to fire Gamez.

“As far as I understand, she hasn’t been fired because the only person that can legally fire her is the mayor,” Rodriguez said.

This left many people wondering if the council meeting would even be valid without a city clerk to officiate it.

Santos implied the meeting was illegal, saying the city did not give the public enough notice, and they should have waited longer to appoint a mayor. She told ABC-7 she would walk out if councilors tried to go through with the meeting, and that’s exactly what she did.

Chaos ensued as Santos got up and walked away, stopping to talk with the media before standing on the sidelines as councilors continued the meeting.

City Attorney Frank Coppler called in at the beginning of the meeting to let councilors know the meeting was valid and they should carry on as normal.

Rodriguez said Santos’ actions were disrespectful.

“If they walked out, they’re not looking out for the best of the city,” Rodriguez said. “The citizens deserve

After the chaos finally died down, the councilors carried on with the meeting and ultimately decided to postpone the appointment of mayor.

“I feel it’s the right thing right now so we can actually review and have interview time with them,” Rodriguez said.

Only two hopefuls showed up to put their names in for consideration: former Mayor Javier Perea and former mayoral candidate Gerardo Hernandez.

They both told ABC-7 they agree with the Council’s decision to postpone.

Perea, Sunland Park’s most recent mayor, was mayor for just a handful of days after he was appointed by the City Council. Perea resigned after the New Mexico attorney general ruled that the meeting when he was appointed mayor violated the Open Meetings Act by not allowing everyone who wanted to attend to be there.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content