Gutjahr steps down; will remain on council
RIO COMMUNITIES — Rio Communities Councilor Joshua Ramsell was selected by his fellow council members to be the next mayor pro tem.
The council voted unanimously to approve Ramsell’s new position on the governing body after Councilor Peggy Gutjahr resigned from the post during Monday’s council meeting.
Gutjahr was appointed to the position in October 2019 when Mayor Mark Gwinn took a leave of absence due to a health issue, and has never returned to his seat.
During Monday’s meeting, Gutjhar read from a written statement that she and the council have “worked diligently to place the city on a secure path for continued growth.”
“I need to concentrate on caring for those I love and improving my own health,” Gutjahr’s statement read in part. “Though these issues have existed for a while, I wanted to be sure that we were in a steady place when I stepped down from this leadership role.”
Gutjahr thanked her fellow councilors, city staff and citizens of Rio Communities for their support.
She also read a list of accomplishments the council has made for the past 22 months, including implementing a balanced and conservative budget, completing a storm drainage assessment and a parks plan for the city, hiring a professional city manager, a paid fire chief and in the process of hiring two paid EMTs, and beginning a public library that is slated to open in October and more.
Gutjahr, a retired registered nurse, was appointed to the council in 2014 and reelected in 2016 and 2019.
Ramsell, the optical manager at Walmart in Belen, was elected to the city council in March 2018.
Ramsell said after being chosen as mayor pro tem, he was grateful for the opportunity.
“Thank you for trusting me,” Ramsell told his fellow councilors. “I look forward to working with the citizens of Rio Communities. I look forward to working with (City Manager) Dr. (Martin) Moore.”
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.