BOSUE FARMSThe newest mayor for the village of Bosque Farms was sworn in at a special meeting on Wednesday, April 3.  

By Friday, he was busy running between the village’s two water wells, making sure repairs to Well 1 were going smoothly and Well 2 was keeping up with demand. 

“I’m just trying to get things done,” said Chris Gillespie, a 31-year resident of the village. “We have some problems right now. I’m retired and can focus the time on things.  

“We have to get the wastewater plant taken care of, the well too. We have to find some money to get streetlights back on. That’s a safety issue. After that, things will start presenting themselves.” 

Julia M. Dendinger | News-Bulletin photos
Chris Gillespie, left, was sworn in last week as the village of Bosque Farms mayor. He takes the place of Wayne Ake, who resigned in February. Also pictured is Christine Gillespie, the new mayor’s wife, center, and Bosque Farms Municipal Judge Ginger Eldridge, right, administering the oath of office.

Gillespie was one of six village residents who submitted a letter of interest to the village council expressing a desire to be the new mayor after former mayor Wayne Ake stepped down in February due to health concerns after beginning a four-year term in January. 

Other residents who submitted a letter of interest included village Councilor Michael Cheromiah; former village councilor and mayor, Bob Knowlton; James Mason, the institutional affairs manager for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carlsbad field office with the Waste Isolation Pilot Plan; Rhonda Stirling-Ankiewicz, a retired school teacher, medical radiographer, paralegal and political advocate; and Clinton Kettle, who in his letter, indicated he had nearly a decade of experience managing employees for multi-million dollar retailers, government entities and small businesses. 

Because he submitted a letter, Cheromiah recused himself from voting on the mayoral appointment. Councilor Tim Baughman nominated Gillespie to fill the unexpired term of the mayor and Mayor Pro Tem Ronita Wood seconded the nomination. 

During the vote, Baughman and Wood both voted yes. Councilor Erica De Smet didn’t make a verbal vote on Gillespie’s appointment. That evening, on a post to the Bosque Farms/Peralta Community Outreach Facebook page, De Smet indicated the new mayor was sworn in after a “majority vote.” 

“To all of you who applied, thank you,” said Baughman. “Please don’t lose interest in assisting the village. Dedication to the village is important. I was impressed by all of you and can’t thank you enough.” 

He went on to thank Wood for “taking on the burden of mayor pro tem. I know it was pretty much 24/7.”  

Wood responded she had a lot of help and appreciated everyone who stepped up. She also noted the council would be calling on those who expressed interest in serving as mayor to help in the future. 

Gillespie said several community members urged him to put his name in for consideration, especially since he was already a member of the village’s planning and zoning commission. He was sworn in for his third two-year term on the commission only a few weeks ago, so his appointment to the mayor’s position leaves a vacancy on that board. 

“I have a lot of experience in government. I’ve lived here a long time and really love this community,” the new mayor said. “With Wayne and the circumstances of him having to resign, it was very sad. He had some things he really wanted to do.”  

“I know he wants to sit and visit, and I’ll see if some of the things he was hoping to do are in agreement with what I want to move forward with.” 

Bosque Farms Mayor Chris Gillespie says he loves Bosque Farms, and wants to make sure the wastewater plant is taken care of while trying to get the streetlights turned back on.

A journeyman electrician, Gillespie spent most of his career working in state government in a supervisory capacity as a foreman or project leader from 2006 until he retired in 2013. He was employed as the senior network engineer for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, where he was tasked with engineering and implementation of advancements in the IT program systems used by the New Mexico State Police and the motor transportation division of the Department of Public Safety.  

He also managed two division’s information services unit’s operations as the deputy director for the information services unit of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and served as the division chief information officer.  

Gillespie worked in the IT field for 35 years, 25 of which were spent maintaining and managing state government network systems. 

He is also an amateur radio operator, FCC licensed as an extra class operator, and the Amateur Radio Relay League District Emergency Coordinator for Valencia County since 2012. Gillespie manages several amateur radio repeaters within Valencia County as a backup communications resource for government agencies and public safety.  

In his letter of interest, Gillespie wrote that due to his experience working with and in government positions, he understands the importance of budgeting and working within the constraints of a budget. 

Born and raised on a small family ranch in Colfax County, Gillespie says he is fortunate to have had two outstanding Future Farmers of America instructors in high school and learned skills such as welding, carpentry, small motor mechanics, book keeping and more. 

After graduating from high school in Springer, N.M., he attended what was known as TVI at the time in Albuquerque, studying electrical trades. 

He met and married his wife, Christine, a native of Bosque Farms, almost 31 years ago and has lived in the village ever since. 

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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.