BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Three Los Alamos County Councilors whose terms end at Dec. 31 were honored by their fellow councilors Tuesday evening during their virtual meeting. Councilor Pete Sheehey, who served eight years on Council, Councilor Antonio Maggiore, who served four years, and Councilor Katrina Martin, who served two years all received kudos from the remaining Councilors Sara Scott, David Izraelevitz, Randy Ryti and James Robinson and made some comments of their own about their terms in office.
Council Chair Sara Scott noted that through his two terms, Sheehey served as liaison to multiple boards and commissions.
“He has also made important contributions including his most recent work on the New Mexico Counties board of directors, on the executive board for the North Central New Mexico Economic Development District and on the Council’s State Legislative Subcommittee. In all of these commitments I can’t emphasize enough his commitment and care for the community which are clearly evident and felt by all who interact with him,” she said.
Scott noted that Maggiore has also served as liaison for a number of boards and commissions.
“With respect to his external engagement, he’s done an excellent job of and really shows a passion for improving transportation options and his work with the North Central Regional Transit District. He was also a driving force behind providing recognition of Russ Gordon’s leadership of the original community concert series and a plaque in Mr. Gordon’s honor will be installed early next year near Ashley Pond,” she said.
Scott noted that Martin most recently has been liaison to the Library Board and the Parks and Recreation Board.
“Her service on the Community Health Council and the Legislative Subcommittee I think have benefitted from the perspective she brings as an educator who is close knitted into the needs of youth and families in our community. I also very much appreciate her recent leadership in the area of racial equity and inclusion as well as contributions to the Social Services Subcommittee work to continue to identify needs and hone programs that support youth and families in our community,” she said.
Scott said she personally thanks all three councilors.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with you – your dedication, your commitment to the community is apparent and I truly, truly appreciate it as I’m sure does the community,” she said.
Izraelevitz noted that he and Sheehey have spent a lot of time together both on Council and several years back on the Planning & Zoning Commission.
“We could probably read each other’s thoughts which might be a dangerous thing at times. I appreciate his devotion and attention to local, federal and state issues. I want to wish him well,” he said.
Izraelevitz said he and Maggiore “crossed verbal swords at times” at Council.
“It never went past that but I think we should admit that. I want to express my appreciation for his passion for our community and for the issues that he feels passionate about and that is a large part of being a leader in the community – to show that passion – so I also want to wish him well,” he said.
Izraelevitz said when Martin was appointed, Councilors though they were getting both a young professional as well as an educator’s perspective.
“We didn’t realize that we would be getting a young mother’s perspective as well so we got kind of a three for one, or three or two. I have personally enjoyed seeing little Elliott being a kind of honorary member of our Council and maybe he’s in training to be the youngest president of the United States. I also wish Councilor Martin well and thank her as a teacher for the difficult position that she’s in helping our children through this very difficult season,” he said.
Ryti said that it has been a pleasure working with each of the Councilors.
“I kind of remember meeting Councilor Sheehey and Councilor Maggiore before I was on Council. It was great to get to know Councilor Martin a bit in the last two years,” he said.
Ryti noted that the photos in the slide show showing the Council members at various pre-COVID events made him feel nostalgic seeing people together.
“We’re looking forward to that again hopefully in 2021 at some point. I really appreciate everyone’s contributions,” he said.
Ryti also mentioned Sheehey’s work on the Legislative Subcommittee, his work with the New Mexico Counties, and the economic development district, and “numerous other things”.
“He kept giving a list of the responsibilities that he had that he had to pass over to someone else. I really appreciate all his service. I also appreciate Councilor Maggiore and his service especially in transportation issues and being an advocate for the business community. I’m going to miss you on Council as well as Councilor Martin’s very unique perspective which is not very typical for a Council member. It’s going to be tough to fill those shoes for some time,” he said.
Robinson also said it has been a pleasure and an honor serving with the three councilors.
“Councilor Maggiore and Councilor Sheehey were sort of mentors to me on my path to running for Council through the Environmental Sustainability Board and the other community things I found myself entangled with on my way to being on Council. Katrina (Martin) joined me on the other edge of the Council dais so we had a young person’s corner to balance Councilor Izraelevitz and Councilor Ryti on the other side,” he said. “It’s been an honor to serve with you all and I hope you all don’t go away. As Councilor Sheehey likes to point out, there’s more than one way to serve the community and it doesn’t necessarily have to be on Council. I hope we get to hear from you guys as often as possible.”
The three councilors commented at that point in the meeting and again at the end of the evening.
“This town has been both a pleasure and a real pain in the ass to serve at times. You guys are very rarely satisfied as a community which is awesome. I know you probably don’t hear this from the elected officials very often, but as one of those elected officials who’s been subject to recall and survived said recall process, I’ve been a witness to what a dysfunctional council is like and I’ve also had the privilege of being a witness to what a really functional council is like,” Maggiore said. “I will say I will always take the latter over the former and it has really been a real distinct pleasure, honor, at times painful experience to serve with all of you and representing this community has truly been one of the high points of my life. Thank you all or making the experience as memorable as it has been.”
Martin – thank you to everyone on the Council for appointing me. Such a pleasure and honor to serve with all of you and serve and represent Los Alamos County. I know my term was only two years but I feel like I’ve learned and grown so much in that time and I really valued every momemt even the difficult decisions we’ve had to make. There was more I wish I could have gotten done. You’ll certainly see me coming back with public comments and then hopefully once I’m not raising a small baby, I hope to run and have the opportunity to serve thecommunity again in the future.
Sheehey thanked the people of Los Alamos for the opportunity to learn and serve during the last eight years.
“I’m grateful for all the support I received from the talented County staff and to innumerable citizens of Los Alamos and across the state. We are a fortunate community in many ways. An exit interview will be published soon in the Los Alamos Reporter so I won’t take the time here but I just want to say I hope more people will become involved to make this an even better, more just and greater place,” he said.
Sheehey later in the meeting that the three parting councilors have been pretty independent voices on some issues and that has made for better decisions by the whole Council.
“We haven’t always won the votes but it’s good to have that discussion. I’m fully expecting that your new three Councilors David Reagor, Denise Derkacs and Sean Williams will fill our shoes as independent voices and that is how it should be. Democracy works when people freely discuss their differences and most of the time around here we do find common ground and move forward. Thank you for your service. It has been a pleasure,” Sheehey said.
Maggiore said likewise he wanted to thank Councilor Sheehey who has been by his side ever since he got on Council and has been an absolute pleasure to serve with. He told Councilor Martin her appointment was one of the first big decisions Council was faced with in his eyes.
“I don’t think we could have chosen better. Thank you for your service as well. You’ve been an absolute delight and put in a definite shift,” Maggiore said. He thanked the remaining councilors as well as County Manager Harry Burgess and County Staff.
“You have all really made this worthwhile but mostly thank you to the community for letting us represent you or to do our best to represent you. We don’t get everything right and thank you for letting us know so eloquently when we don’t. So, thank you and it’s really been a wonderful experience and I wish you all the best with your new councilors and look forward to you guys continuing to keep up the good work,” Maggiore said.
Councilor Martin said even when she disagreed with people or when she just listens to the disagreements going on she thinks everyone on the Council has really wonderful perspectives and made excellent and convincing points.
“I just really appreciated working with all of you and as well as the staff. I just think that the staff is fantastic to work with. Mr. Burgess, thank you for your leadership there, I look forward to seeing what the next council does as well and thank you to the community as well,” she said.
Councilors-elect Derkacs, Reagor and Williams as well as re-elected County Clerk Naomi Maestas are slated to be sworn in during a virtual ceremony Friday at 5 p.m. on Zoom. To view the ceremony online go to:
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