Robert Chavez appointed to seat

RIO COMMUNITIES — A man who has volunteered for years in the city Rio Communities and served on the council for the past five years has resigned his position.

In a letter to the council, read by Mayor Pro Tem Joshua Ramsell, at Monday’s council meeting, Brown asked the council to accept his resignation as of Sunday, Sept. 12.

“I take my responsibilities as councilman very seriously but due to personal reasons find it increasingly difficult to serve at a level of performance acceptable to me,” Brown wrote.

The now-former councilor said he was proud to serve the community for the past five and a half years, saying he was honored to represent residents.

Bill Brown

“This has been an exciting time, as our local government has transitioned from fledgling infancy providing bare necessities, to a position of expanded public safety and resident amenities …,” he continued in his letter. “That’s the good news! The better news is that our city is now fully positioned to provide more services and improved amenities in the very near future.

“As if a nurtured desert plant, Rio Communities is poised to blossom! I will truly miss being part of and contributing to the process of our city being ever more responsive to the needs of our residents. I am proud, pleased and blessed to have served to the best of my ability.”

Before approving Brown’s resignation, the remaining councilors praised him for his hard work and commitment to the city.

Councilor Peggy Gutjahr said she’s had the pleasure of knowing Brown for many years.

“He was great, and he was very persistent,” Gutjahr said of Brown. “When he found something he was going to champion, he would bring it up in all different ways. He was here for all residents.”

“It was a pleasure serving with Councilor Brown for the last two years,” Councilor Jim Winters said. “I also want to thank him for his service on (the) economic development (commission).

“He’s been a valued member of the community, and he’s been involved in a lot of clubs that promote clean up. He and Cyndi Sluder operated a clean-up group for many years and it was successful.”

Ramsell also thanked Brown for being involved in the community.

“Before the city existed and while the incorporation was moving forward and after, he was involved in city council, P&Z and just trying to look out for this community,” Ramsell said of Brown. “He did everything he could to better this community for the residents.”

Robert Chavez

After unanimously approving Brown’s resignation, the councilors voted to appoint a familiar face — Robert Chavez — to fulfill the remainder of Brown’s term, which ends in December.

Chavez was appointed to the seat and then served on the Rio Communities City Council from 2014 to 2016 after Sluder resigned from her seat.

He is retired from Belen Consolidated Schools, and works part-time as a sales and U-Haul representative at Auge’s Sales and Services in Belen.

“I feel like the city needed some help,” Chavez said. “I’ve done it before and I feel I could help. I’m a positive voice, and I want to see the best for the city. I told them I would help in however I could.”

Chavez currently serves on the city’s personnel board, and said Brown is very intelligent and knows that he wants the city succeed.

Gutjahr said she’s also known Chavez for a long time, as both worked for Belen Consolidated Schools for many years.

“I’ve worked with Robert Chavez, not only the two years he was on the council, but for about 20 years in the schools,” Gutjahr said. “He’s excellent, has high integrity and always researches things.”

“He was very hard working when he was on the council and he always came prepared to the meetings,” Winters said of Chavez.

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Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.