The San Miguel County Commission ratifies the hirings of county employees at every meeting. And the votes are unanimous.
That changed at the commission’s monthly meeting on Tuesday.
The commissioners were asked to approve the hiring of Kenneth C. Medina Jr., the son of Commissioner Kenny Medina, as a detention officer with the county jail.
When the issue came up, County Commission Chairman Hugh Ley asked Commissioner Medina if he planned to abstain from the vote, and Medina said he would.
Ley then called for a rare roll call vote, and the clerk asked for Ley’s vote first. He said no, and the clerk, apparently surprised with the dissenting vote, asked him again, and he repeated his answer.
The other commissioners voted yes, with Medina abstaining.
Ley said this morning that his campaign platform was that he wouldn’t approve the hiring of commissioners’ family members.
He said that while it was legal under the county’s nepotism policy as long as the commissioner abstains from the vote, people will always question such hires.
It’s the first time in at least the last three years that a hiring has drawn a dissenting vote.
Medina Jr. will start out at $19,950 a year, as do other detention officers. Turnover is high among jailers.