BOSQUE FARMS — “When you end up in the hospital for five days and they tell your wife if she hadn’t gotten you there when she did, the outcome would have been a lot different, you start thinking about a lot of things. It gets your attention.” 

Last Thursday, Bosque Farms Mayor Wayne Ake — who’s most recent term as mayor began on Jan. 1 — cited health concerns as he announced his resignation from the position, effective Friday, March 1. 

Mayor Wayne Ake
Announced his resignation

It’s unclear how long the person appointed to the vacant seat will serve before needing to run for reelection. Ake said it was his understanding an appointment to the mayor’s position served for the entire remainder of the term, whether it was a few weeks or years. 

State statute section 3-11-2 says, “In case of the death, disability, resignation or change of residence, from the municipality, of the mayor, the governing body shall appoint by majority vote a qualified elector to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term of office.” 

However the 2023 election handbook of the State of New Mexico provided by the secretary of state says in section 1-22-3.1 G, “When the Municipal Code [Chapter 3 NMSA 1978]: (1) provides for vacancies in municipal office to be filled by election at the next regular local election, the vacancies shall instead be filled by election at the next municipal officer election …” 

Bosque Farms Mayor Pro Tem Ronita Wood said a process to call for village residents interested in filling the position hasn’t been decided yet. 

“As the council, we can’t discuss this one-on-one because that would create a rolling quorum,” Wood said Tuesday morning. “We are working with our attorney to make sure we are doing this correctly. As a village, we’ve been through tough situations before. We just have to push through.” 

As the mayor pro tem, Wood is empowered to perform the duties of the mayor in his absence.  

After 20 years in office — two terms as a councilor and three as mayor — in March 2020, Ake announced he was getting out of the elected office gig. However, after sitting on the sidelines for four years, Ake ran again in November, beating out challenger Robert Knowlton on a 2:1 margin.  

“It is with regret I am announcing my resignation as mayor,” Ake said at the Feb. 15 village council meeting. “As most of you are aware, on Jan. 7, I had a heart attack. I cannot perform the duties I desire for the village. I wanted to make several trips (to Santa Fe) during the legislative session. I was only able to make one. I have had other medical set backs, and it is unfair to the citizens of the village and my wonderful wife.” 

Julia M. Dendinger | News-Bulletin photo
Bosque Farms Mayor Wayne Ake announced he was stepping down at the Feb. 15 council meeting citing health issues.

With the council charged with appointing his replacement, Ake had some advice to the person who will ultimately take on the mayoral duties for the village. 

“You’re under scrutiny all the time, everything you do. Particularly being mayor here, the budget is a big thing,” Ake said. 

The budget never goes as far as hoped, he said, and while the village wants to pay people top dollar, there’s always going to be somebody who can pay more than what it can afford. 

Most of the village revenue comes from business gross receipts taxes and recent development of vacant land along Bosque Farms Boulevard has brought some additional funds, but “it’s not turned things around drastically.  

“Don’t get me wrong, we’re grateful for all the businesses we have but we are a community that was kind of passed by with all the economic development,” he said. “The fact is we’re not on the interstate like Los Lunas. We have 40,000 cars going through a day, but what do we have to stop them? That’s why you have to go out and look for money all the time when you’re mayor.” 

Ake said he “truly, truly” wanted to continue to serve the village but his health has put him in the position of having to prioritize what is best for him and his wife, Lodi. 

“I took an oath and I take it very seriously. To perform the duties of my office to the best of my ability, and my ability right now is not my best,” he said. “I’m thankful for the council and administration and everyone who has given me all this help in the last two months. The council standing up and helping and doing things I couldn’t made it as easy on me as they could. 

“I have a wife that has just gone overboard to make life as good as she could for 50 years. She’s my main Uber,” Ake says with a chuckle. “I’m amazed at the support I’ve received (Friday) morning. I was honestly sitting there, thinking ‘Nobody likes anything you’re doing.’” 

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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.