Heated BernCo Commission meeting leads to calls for resignation

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bernalillo County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada is calling for Commissioner Debbie O’Malley to step down following a heated commission meeting Tuesday night, that ended with a discussion about when to fill the vacant Senate District 26 seat.

It’s up to commissioners to fill it after Sen. Jacob Candelaria stepped down last week.

Quezada posed this question at the end of the meeting, saying, “There’s a senate seat open in District 26 and it kind of you know falls in my district, 35 percent in my district, and I was wondering when we’re going to fill that position.”

Commissioner O’Malley, who also has stake in that district, says there’s no rush.

“I think it’s important to be able to accept applications and give people time to apply,” O’Malley said.

Commissioner Charlene Pyskoty brought out a signed letter calling for a meeting this coming Monday to make the appointment.

“This really isn’t following what our standard procedure has been. We generally do an appointment meeting within two weeks of a resignation,” said Pyskoty.

“I’m very disappointed and I’m really disappointed in commissioner Pyskoty doing something like this which I think is extremely disrespectful and rude,” responded O’Malley.

Commission Chair Adrienne Barboa echoed O’Malley’s concerns.

“And you’re going to give six days? I just can’t even believe this conversation happening,” said Barboa. “I’m flabbergasted that this commission would in all the ways I’m trying to make this fair just push against us.”

KOB 4 confirmed the dialogue between Pyskoty and O’Malley didn’t stop there. Commissioner Pyskoty says while she was walking out of the meeting, Commissioner O’Malley called her a b**** twice and badgered her assistant when he told her to stop.

“Everybody was pretty heated and I’ll let them work on that but yeah I think emotions were definitely raised during that meeting,” said Commissioner Benson, who sat between the two during the meeting.

O’Malley wrote in an email:

“I own what I said. Should I have been more tactful?  Yes. Should I have toned it down a bit? Absolutely. And while I regret confronting Commissioner Pyskoty when angry, I do not regret standing up for the constituents in my District while certain members of the Commission do everything they can to railroad a two-year political appointment to appease a Senator, a Representative, and a corporate Lobbyist who have been plotting this for a year.”

Pyskoty gave a statement, saying:

“This unprovoked, abusive, bullying behavior is inappropriate from anyone, especially an elected official. This incident took place in our beautiful, new Chambers, which serves the public with taxpayer dollars. For Commissioner O’Malley to defile this public space in such an unprofessional way is reprehensible. Commissioner O’Malley needs to be held accountable for her unethical, retaliatory, rude behavior in public.”

Pyskoty says she’s seeking legal counsel.

“As a sitting county commissioner I have lost respect,” said Quezada, calling O’Malley’s statements “uncalled for.”

“If I as a Hispanic male would’ve stood up after the meeting and said that they would be screaming for my resignation today,” said Quezada. “So I’m asking commissioner O’Malley to step down. I’m asking her to submit her resignation. If you are not leading with integrity and showing the public what good government looks like, you need to step down.”

Commissioners have not yet set a date for the appointment meeting.