The City of Sunland Park, located on the Mexico-New Mexico Border just west of El Paso, has gained a bit of a reputation over the years as the poster boy for bad local government.
Because of constantly changing managers, elected officials, clerks and police officers, stability has not been a phrase used to describe city government staff in the small community.
Perhaps its most memorable chain of staffing events occurred about seven years ago when the mayor at the time admitted to signing contracts on behalf of the city while he was intoxicated. Then later, apparently oblivious to the fact that there were convenient airline connections between nearby El Paso and Washington D.C., he drove a city car cross country to the capitol, got lost at one point and ended up in New York, then completely missed the meeting he was scheduled to attend. He still billed the city almost $2,400 for his trip. Figuring that the jig was up, he resigned and the city council appointed a successor.
The successor, it turns out, had previously been convicted of bribery, extortion and taking kickbacks. Because of his conviction, he could not be allowed to receive the oath of office from the sitting town clerk.
Undaunted, the city council tried again, only to select a successor who had to resign 10 days later because the meeting at which he was appointed did not follow proper procedures.
I’m wondering if some day, the Sunland Park City hall will have to add a new wing for a wall large enough to contain the names and photos of all the previous mayors — and maybe a “most wanted” poster board.