County Attorney Finalists Share Interests In Job

County Manager Harry Burgess, center, speaks with County Attorney finalists and guests at an Oct. 6 community reception at the Los Alamos Golf Course. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ 
Los Alamos Daily Post

The four finalists for the Los Alamos County Attorney position gathered at a community reception Oct. 6 in the Community Room at the Los Alamos County Golf Course. Residents were invited to visit with each finalist and then fill out a comment card with their top choice(s). The cards were collected and given to the County Council as part of their review of the four finalists.

Each of the finalists has top notch qualifications and many combined years of legal, municipal and county government experience. The candidates include Charles Rennick of Santa Fe, Stephen Thies of Alamagordo, Kenneth Tager of Rio Rancho and Joseph Alvin Leaphart of Statesboro, Ga.

The finalists told the Los Alamos Daily Post why they are interested in the top attorney job in Los Alamos.

“Because I’m too young to retire,” Rennick said smiling, and added, “I’ve work here before and it’s a very good place to work,” Rennick said. Rennick also has served on various boards and currently is a member of the Los Alamos Housing Partnership Board.

Leaphart is from Georgia and expressed his admiration for the local surroundings.

“Los Alamos is a very unique and beautiful part of the world and this is possibly an opportunity to come out here and serve the community,” Leaphart said. “I’ve been coming to the southwest since my childhood and it’s the only place other than Georgia that I would like to live.”

Tager resides in Rio Rancho. “Los Alamos is a great community and it’s probably the most sophisticated town in the southwest,” Tager said. “It’s got a very well run County and it’s the jewel of New Mexico. I’ve known several of the attorneys who have worked here and they are all top notch.”

“This is a very professional Council and staff and the position here would present a new and interesting challenge,”

Earlier in the day the finalists were given tours of  Los Alamos and White Rock. They spent the following day in interviews with the Council, a community panel representing residents and businesses, and senior management staff.

The county attorney position was advertised in July, after former County Attorney Rebecca Ehler announced her retirement, and the Council has been actively working to narrow the list of candidates over the last few weeks.

Katie Thwaits is the acting county attorney and will return to her position as assistant county attorney once the county attorney is hired. The final selection and announcement of the successful candidate is expected later this month.

Los Alamos County Councilor Kristin Henderson, left, speaks with Charles Rennick of Santa Fe and his wife. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Stephen Thies of Alamagordo. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Kenneth Tager of Rio Rancho speaks with local attorney Chris Chandler who is a candidate for County Council. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Joseph Alvin Leaphart of Georgia chats with Los Alamos County Councilor Kristin Henderson. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

From left, Deputy County Manager Brian Bosshardt and CFO Steve Lynne, Council Chair Rick Reiss and County Manager Harry Burgess. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Los Alamos County Human Resources Manager Denise Cassel chats with Assistant Human Resources Manager Ed McDaris. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Los Alamos County Communications & Public Relations Administrator Julie Habiger. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Los Alamos County Councilor Pete Sheehey. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Former Assistant County Attorney Dan Gonzales, center, chats with County officials. Photo by Carol A. Clark/