Sheriff candidates: We’ll work full time

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By David Giuliani

The two candidates for San Miguel County sheriff said they would work full time if elected in November.

They were responding to a question during a candidates forum on Thursday about Mora County Sheriff Roy Cordova.

Cordova recently started working as a sheriff’s deputy in Valencia County. He reportedly cut his hours as Mora County sheriff but still collects a full paycheck. He makes $40,712 a year as sheriff.

Rico Giron, the independent candidate, promised to work full time. He said it was morally wrong for the Mora County sheriff to work the other job, saying it violated the sheriff’s oath to the people.

Sheriff Bengie Vigil, the Democratic candidate elected four years ago, said elected officials such as the sheriff only have to be at the office one day a month under state law.

“He (Cordova) is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” the sheriff said.

But he said he wouldn’t follow Cordova’s example.

“We’re called 24-7. I’ve gotten three calls while I’ve been here (at the forum). I promise to serve and protect,” Vigil said. “There’s always a bad apple in the bunch. Maybe that’s why Sheriff Cordova didn’t win re-election. Maybe he wasn’t out there 24-7. Whatever he does is his business. That’s a different county.”

The Optic hasn’t found any law that lets elected officials such as sheriffs only show up once a month, although Vigil and many others maintain such a law exists.

During the forum, Giron promised to declare a moratorium on all mortgage foreclosures until banks meet lawful requirements, deem the federal Patriot Act unconstitutional, end cronyism, set up a citizens advisory commission to examine misconduct allegations, re-establish the sheriff’s posse and prevent President Obama from curtailing gun rights.
Vigil said he would continue what he was doing already.
“As you know, I’ve been trying to get more manpower and higher salaries in order to do my job correctly. I will continue,” he said.