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An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

James Dominguez

County commissioner resigns after taking plea deal

~Bill Diven

Sandoval County Commissioner James Dominguez resigned his office in June after pleading guilty to two charges related to a domestic dispute with his now ex-wife.

During a June 16 hearing in Santa Fe, Dominguez pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors: battery of a household member, and violating a court protective order. Eight other charges, including felony counts of false imprisonment were dismissed as part of the plea deal.

"I have accepted this plea agreement today to spare my family, friends, and constituents from further ordeal," Dominguez said in a written statement handed out after the hearing. "In the best interest of the County, I will be resigning from my office as Sandoval County Commissioner."

He made no further comment as he left the courtroom.

Under the agreement, District Judge Jennifer Attrep also sentenced Dominguez to nearly two years of unsupervised probation and ordered him to attend an anger-management program. He also is barred from seeking public office during that time.

Attrep took over the case after prosecutors and Dominguez's attorney agreed it should be moved out of Sandoval County.

The case began with charges filed in November 2015 after a Bernalillo Police Department officer spotted a pickup truck and SUV apparently engaged in road rage on U.S. Highway 550. Dominguez, driving the pickup, said he was trying to get his wife to return home so they could talk, according to the BPD incident report.

His then-wife, Guadalupe Reyes, appeared later at the police department to file a report alleging domestic battery during an argument that began the day before. While their accounts differed, Dominguez conceded he forced her to sit down, wouldn't allow her to leave and took her car keys and cell phone, the officer reported.

Three months later, Dominguez violated the protective order when he appeared in her county office.

Reyes, who watched the Santa Fe hearing from a separate room, agreed with the plea deal and chose not to speak in court, Special Prosecutor David Foster said. Dominguez has no criminal record, and being convicted of a felony at trial would only force the resignation to which he voluntarily agreed, Foster added.

"This resolution from the state's perspective accomplishes several goals," he continued. "It shows it's not acceptable for anyone, let alone a public official, to do this."

Dominguez's resignation took effect immediately after Attrep denied his request to delay it until after the July 13 commission meeting so he could address his colleagues at a last meeting. It will be up to Gov. Susana Martinez to appoint a replacement to serve out the rest of his term through the end of 2018.

Sandoval Economic Alliance names new President and CEO

—Tiffany Avery, Director of Marketing and Communications, Rio Rancho

Sandoval Economic Alliance (SEA) has named Steve Jenkins as their new President and CEO. Jenkins is a certified economic developer with more than forty years of experience in business attraction, retention, and expansion, and entrepreneurial development. This experience has awarded him leadership positions in numerous states including Wisconsin, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, Colorado, Louisiana, and North Carolina.

“It is an honor to join the exceptional staff of SEA,” stated Mr. Jenkins. “Rio Rancho and Sandoval County sit in the midst of a growing metro with exceptional business assets and a focus on the future. Working with SEA’s public and private partners to bring new levels of prosperity will be my top priority.”

Jenkins’ first official day on the job will be July 17, following his introduction to the community at SEA’s annual Gala on July 15, where he and his wife Lynn will be in attendance.

“I’m delighted that we have completed the selection process for hiring the next Sandoval Economic Alliance CEO. We are thrilled to welcome Steve to our community and to see where he takes the organization in collaboration with Rio Rancho, and Sandoval County. We are fortunate to have had Jami Grindatto to get SEA where it is today. SEA will be part of his legacy as Jami has left a significant footprint on our community,” stated SEA Chair Elect Angela Ward.

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