County Councilor James Chrobocinski Resigns

Los Alamos County Councilor James Chrobocinski. ScreenShot/LADP
 
By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post
caclark@ladailypost.com

Los Alamos County Councilor James Chrobocinski this evening announced his resignation from Council citing health issues.

It has been a great pleasure to have served you for the last three and a half years. Unfortunately, I find it necessary to resign from the County Council effective immediately upon the conclusion of tonight’s Council meeting,” Chrobocinski said. “While the reasons behind this are deeply personal, I will share them as I do want to be clear that my resignation is in no way related to the baseless accusations against me in regards to my fight on behalf of all of my constituents against overzealous code enforcement and an unfair permitting process.

I have been diagnosed with cancer and I must take this time to win this battle and support my family. Because I fully intend to continue my real estate sales company without any decrease in services and remain as president of the Los Alamos County Little League, I find it necessary to relinquish other responsibilities, including County Council, in order to also seek the best treatment possible.

Chrobocinski was elected to Council in November 2014. His term ends Dec. 31 and he did not file for reelection. He is the owner of Zia Realty Group and president of the Los Alamos County Little League.

Councilor Susan O’Leary, also elected to Council in November 2014, shared with the Los Alamos Daily Post her comments about Chrobocinski‘s resignation.

James has been a great advocate for families, and especially children. It’s refreshing to have a councilor who actively works to improve our community for the 25 percent of our population that doesn’t vote, O’Leary said. He gets that government exists to serve all of its citizens and not just those few who show up at meetings or work for the county. The County Council benefited from his perspectives as a business owner and father; and his personal values made him a pleasure to work with. We didn’t agree on everything but he always treated me with respect and professionalism. I will miss him dearly.

Los Alamos County Little League Vice President Jason Martines said he has worked with Chrobocinski for at least three years and expressed his gratitude during an interview today.

I don’t have the words to express my appreciation for all James has done to help get the Little League in Los Alamos and White Rock into a combined program and his incredible dedication to the youth in this community, Martines said. The amount of time and effort he puts into this … you just can’t praise him enough.

Los Alamos County Little League Coach Robbie Harris also volunteers with the Little League program and shared his thoughts earlier with the Los Alamos Daily Post.

The news on James’ cancer is very unfortunate and when I heard about it last week, it hit me like a rock, I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know any details on it such as what type it is, how far along it is, etc. I’m just really hoping it’s something that was detected in its early stages and can be fought and cured, Harris said. James is a very good person with a huge heart. He has been a major proponent for the youth of this community through his support for school functions, youth hockey, and most of all, Little League. I remember when he first returned to the community and before I knew who he was, he was painting one of his Zia Realty moving trucks in his driveway along Trinity. He did a really good job with it and I thought “that guy is really dedicated.

His drive, hard work, and dedication has proven fruitful for the community through years while serving as a County Councilor and as president of Los Alamos County Little League. While serving on the Little League Board myself, I have come to see how passionate James is about the youth in this community. If you know James, you’ll know he puts 110 percent into anything sets out to accomplish. 

For Little League, he was the catalyst for having the dugouts on North Mesa painted green and gold in line with our high school colors, he set up the batting cage behind Lou Caveglia Field and purchased and set up the new Little League supply shed with his own resources. In 2016 when we brought the Little League Junior Regional Softball Tournament to town, he was instrumental in working with girls’ softball and the County in upgrading the facilities and infrastructure on North Mesa to make the tournament one of the best the tournament officials had ever seen. I’ve never seen James say no when it comes to our youth. When presented with what’s needed supported by a reasonable justification, he does whatever he can, often with his own resources, to see that our kids needs are met. 

To help young parents financially and also to introduce local youth to Little League, it was James’ recommendation to offer new players free Little League registration. He has also been a driving factor in keeping our overall registration fees low making Little League one of the most financially affordable youth team sports in the county. James is the epitome of what volunteerism is all about. I couldn’t imagine all we could get done if we, as a community, embraced this same behavior. Driven to take challenges head on, I really hope and believe this is just another hurdle in life that he will overcome.

Councilor Chrobocinski’s resignation letter:

May 1, 2017

To my constituents,

It has been a great pleasure to have served you for the last three and a half years. Unfortunately, I find it necessary to resign from the County Council effective immediately upon the conclusion of tonight’s Council meeting. While the reasons behind this are deeply personal, I will share them as I do want to be clear that my resignation is in no way related to the baseless accusations against me in regards to my fight on behalf of all of my constituents against overzealous code enforcement and an unfair permitting process.

I have been diagnosed with cancer and I must take this time to win this battle and support my family. Because I fully intend to continue my real estate sales company without any decrease in services and remain as President of the Los Alamos County Little League, I find it necessary to relinquish other responsibilities, including County Council, in order to also seek the best treatment possible.

When I ran for this position I had two major issues :

1. Make our permitting process easier for businesses and residents; and

2. To create more opportunities for the youth in our community.

In regards to permitting and code enforcement, I have seen mixed results. We successfully restructured the department to streamline the permitting and code enforcement divisions. It is now structured in such a way that it can be a transparent and reasonable process.  However I do feel that there is great deal of work left to do on this issue if we want to make Los Alamos a place where residents, builders, and businesses feel that they can build homes and businesses or remodel their homes and business without overly burdensome government interference. Upon deep reflection on this issue, I do not believe that the problems we are having are the fault of the County staff but rather a reflection of the County Council.

The council we had my first two years was very focused on creating an easier, business friendly environment within this department. However, the direction seems to be significantly different under the current council. The current council was duly elected by the people of Los Alamos so I have to accept that this is the will of the people. Without casting any judgment on who is right or wrong, I think it is fair to say that the current Chair and Vice-Chair and I have very different opinions on these issues. It is up to the people of Los Alamos to choose the direction that these issues will go by electing people who either want greater government oversight or more individual responsibility in the next election.

The youth of Los Alamos have been my absolute priority and I am very proud of what we have accomplished. I had seen very little investment in the youth of our community for decades. I have been very concerned with the teen suicide and depression rates in our little town. We have very high academic expectations of our children. That in itself can be a very good thing. However I believe that it must be balanced with recreational opportunities.

Obviously, I was a huge proponent of the Rec Bond and was disappointed by its failure and the impact it’s failure may have on the physical and mental health of our children. I am very encouraged though that the Council was able to find other available funds to still create some of the opportunities such as the children’s pool, teen center, ice rink improvements, school programs, and the splash pad in White Rock. I pray that future Council’s will continue to invest in and make our youth a priority.

In conclusion, thank you for the opportunity you gave me to serve you. I did my best to represent you and to keep my promises. I will beat this new challenge that I am facing and look forward to being your friend and neighbor in our wonderful little town for many years to come.

God Bless,

James Chrobocinski

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