COMMISSIONER GILBERT T. APODACA CLEARED IN TRAVEL INVESTIGATION

COMMISSIONER GILBERT T. APODACA CLEARED IN TRAVEL INVESTIGATION

Doña Ana County Commission Chairman Gilbert T. Apodaca, who represents District 5 and also is President-elect of the New Mexico Association of Counties, was notified by mail this week that an independent investigation into his travel reimbursements has been completed by the law firm of Sandenaw, Carillo and Piazza of Las Cruces. The investigation was initiated by the county manager, under the authority of the county’s Code of Conduct, in response to verbal allegations.
The written opinion, which was sent to the Commission through the county manager’s office, stated that there is, “no evidence to support a conclusion that Commissioner Apodaca has double-billed either [Doña Ana County or the New Mexico Association of Counties] for county- or association-related travel. The documents do not support any conclusion that Commissioner Apodaca was paid twice for the same expenses.”
The investigation included a review of travel documents filed by Apodaca with both Doña Ana County and the association, as well as an interview with Apodaca.
“I have said from the beginning that these allegations were frivolous,” Apodaca said. “It’s a shame that money and valuable time must be spent responding to unfounded accusations. The investigation cost the taxpayers money in the form of attorneys fees, and it also wasted valuable commission and staff time which could have been devoted to legitimate public matters.”
Apodaca, a two-term commissioner who is in his third full-year term as commission chairman, is scheduled to assume the presidency of NMAC in January of 2002. His commission term extends through 2004.