It’s official now. Judge David L. Patterson gained Bosque Farms Village Council approval Thursday as the municipal judge until the 2004 election. Patterson replaced Judge Anthony Fuller, who resigned in April.
Patterson moved into the position just in time to haggle for department expenditures. He requested a trip to Ruidoso for mandatory judicial training at an annual conference for two of his clerks.
At first, Councilor David Linthicum recommended that approval of the trip be denied. However, upon learning that the training was mandatory, Councilor Wayne Ake suggested that one clerk make the trip, which was approved.
Patterson’s timing in asking for approval for training expenditures was a little off. Prior to asking, he pleaded for a job description change for court clerks, who are swamped with recording citations. Patterson had previously discussed with Police Chief Louis Burkhardt the need for the separation of staffing requirements for the judiciary and police departments.
Patterson pointed out that Court Clerk Linda Curtner, who has been with the court system more than 20 years, needs help, and they are currently “five weeks behind in warrants.”
“Linda cannot keep up her current pace,” Patterson said. “She needs help. We have over 3,500 citations that we have not even filed yet. If we don’t fix this, the court system of Bosque Farms will not survive.”
While Curtner will have to wait on budget approval for more help and a pay increase to match her years of experience, the municipal court system will get a new computer server for $5,871. However, that expenditure will be reimbursed after approximately 30 days, from funding through the Municipal Court Automation Committee.
After hearing the plea for more court clerks, Ake moved that the job description for court clerk be revised. That motion was approved, but Linthicum advised that no hiring decision could be made until the final budget numbers are in.
“When we finish the budget, we will look at this again,” Linthicum said.
Mayor Roger Baldwin tried to reassure Patterson that the work would get done, even if the village has to hire temporary workers. Meanwhile, there will be a third and final budget workshop on May 29, before final budget approval slated for a May 30 meeting at 5 p.m. in the village council chambers.
The council approved the hiring of Patricia C. Gallegos as a part-time police officer, but two more full-time officers are still needed to bring the department staff up to the budgeted number of 12.
“We need to hire a couple of officers,” Burkhardt said in a telephone interview Friday. “That’s the bottom line.”
“We’re just looking for qualified applicants. Once a background check is run, it will go to the council for approval.”
Burkhardt pointed out that the department has always been short an officer or two and he does not think it would currently impact operations.
With the village budget tight, Linthicum kept a watchful eye on any new budget expenditures in the recent council meeting.
Also hired are Inez Anaya of Belen as administrative assistant and Laurie Kastelic as a library aide. Kastelic currently works for the Los Lunas schools as a librarian, and this will be a supplemental job for her.
In other business:
- Garbage disposal rates are going up from $7.60 to $10.95, plus tax.
- Zoning changes were approved for 150 Pine Street from Special Use-1 to Commercial-1 and 2475 Bosque Farms Boulevard, also from special use to commercial.