ENMU grad Annie Hogland has been named Curry County clerk. Read abut her in the 2-24-17 Greyhound Gazette. #ENMU #ENMUNEWS

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Hogland, who assumed duties when Queener was hospitalized Jan. 24, was appointed by a 5-0 vote and sworn into office by County Attorney Stephen Doerr.

The clerk term is four years, but the final two years will be up for election in 2018.

Queener, who died Jan. 26, had hired Hogland to be her chief deputy.

"It was a very emotional moment, because of Jo Lynn's family, who I consider to be my family, being here for me today," said Hogland, a Los Alamos native who has earned an undergraduate degree from Eastern New Mexico University and recently applied to graduate school. "I was confident in my experience, education and everything else, but the overwhelming support has been great. I'm so excited I get to carry out what Jo Lynn and I started.

"We started this together and now I'm going to finish."

Commissioner Robert Thornton introduced a motion to appoint Hogland.

"I talked with several of the people who do abstracts, that deal with the clerk's office quite a bit - and they're very satisfied with the way Mrs. Hogland has taken care of the job," he said. "She pulled off an election in basically 11 days and doesn't seem to be afraid to ask questions. She has proven she can do it."

After a second to the motion was provided, Commissioner Chet Spear referenced a pair of candidates for the vacancy.

"We received two letters of intent - one from Stephanie Hicks and one from Annie (Hogland)," he said. "I'm impressed with the way Annie has done the job and I'm sure she will make a great clerk. Stephanie Hicks worked for our county for eight years and is the chief deputy (clerk) in Portales (Roosevelt County). It would be only fair to have her people come forward and speak on her behalf. I've gotten letters from a few people concerning Annie. I haven't gotten any letters from anyone concerning Stephanie, but I think she should have the opportunity to send in her resume and references."

Commissioner Ben Smith said he would like to see Hogland lead the office as clerk while Vice Chair Angelina Baca referenced she was in favor of individuals submitting resumes, with the commission providing a time limit to do so.

Meanwhile, Thornton inquired as to whether Hicks was a registered voter in Roosevelt County and if the appointee would have to be a Curry County resident. Doerr said he was unaware of Hicks' residence and would have to conduct research.

"I think one of the requirements when you run for election, is you have to be a registered voter in that county to hold that office," said attorney Rick Queener, Jo Lynn Queener's husband, who was in attendance. "To hold an office in that county, you have to be a registered voter in that county. I called the clerk's office yesterday and asked if they had Stephanie Hicks and they do not."

Commissioners voted without confirming Queener's information on state law or Hicks' registration.

According to New Mexico Deputy Secretary of State John Blair, candidates running for a county office must be a registered voter in that county.

However, a loophole exists because the spot was appointed. The commission had the authority to appoint Hicks, who would have had to register as a Curry County voter if she chose to run in 2018.

Blair said both Curry and Roosevelt counties had a Stephanie Hicks as a registered voter, but he couldn't determine if those registrations belonged to one person or two people with the same name.

Hicks, reached at the Roosevelt clerk's office Tuesday, declined comment on the matter.

Commission Chairman Ben McDaniel extended kudos to Hogland for her performance.

"I have been more and more impressed with the way she (Hogland) has handled herself in the clerk's office," he said. "And I've got an overwhelming number of people who think really highly of her. I'm confident she will continue to do a great job for our county."

As the roll call vote was administered, Spear prefaced his decision.

"In light of only two people asking for the job and one of them not being a registered voter in Curry County, yes," he said.