City manager arrested over weekend

CNJ File Photo Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas was arrested Friday at a DUI checkpoint between San Jon and Logan.

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers

Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas was arrested Friday night and charged with driving under the influence, state police said.

He was also cited for an open container violation. Both charges are misdemeanors and police said they are first offenses.

“It was an extremely bad judgment on my part,” Thomas said on Monday.

Thomas said he was working Monday as usual and declined additional comment on the matter.

City Attorney Dave Richards said a special meeting of the Clovis City Commission has been called for 5 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall to discuss Thomas’ arrest.

Richards declined to provide additional information.

Officers detected the odor of alcohol on Thomas’ breath when his vehicle was stopped around 8:30 p.m. Friday at a sobriety checkpoint on State Road 469 between San Jon and Logan, State Police Capt. Dan Lopez said.

Thomas, 56, failed a battery of sobriety tests, Lopez said. Thomas was arrested and booked at the Quay County Detention Center.
An open can of beer was found in the center console of his vehicle, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Quay County Magistrate Court.

A blood sample drawn from Thomas was sent to the state crime lab and results are pending, Lopez said.

Jail officials said he was released on $1,500 bond shortly after being booked.

Richards said the charges are allegations and he is unaware of any specific city policy that would require the City Commission to take any action related to the incident.

Mayor David Lansford and Commissioner Robert Sandoval declined to comment.

“This will be a personnel matter and the mayor and the commissioners will handle it confidentially and appropriately,” Commissioner Randy Crowder said.

City Commissioner Juan Garza said it’s too early to make decisions.

“At this point in time we can’t do anything,” Garza said. “We need to wait and see what happened.”

Thomas took over as city manager in December 2004.

Prior to being hired as city manager, he worked as assistant city manager for three years, spent eight years as the city’s director of public works and served 21 years with the Clovis Police Department. He was the assistant chief of police for 1 1/2 years.

New Mexico statute:
DUI first offense, petty misdemeanor — A person convicted of a DUI first offense faces a maximum of 90 days imprisonment and or a $500 fine followed by up to one year supervised probation and have an ignition interlock device installed on any car they may drive at their own cost for a period of one year. A convicted person may also be required to serve up to 24 hours community service, pay additional fines up to $300, attend an alcohol screening program and a driver rehabilitation program. A judge may also revoke a person’s license for up to one year.
Open container, petty misdemeanor — A first offense is punishable by a $25 fine.