Probate Judge Bill McKerley Tenders Resignation

Probate Judge Bill McKerley

Staff Report:

Los Alamos County Probate Judge Bill McKerley has submitted his resignation from that office as recent changes to the Code of Judicial Conduct make the office incompatible with his role as chair of the local Republican Party.

As a result of the resignation of prior Probate Judge Christine Chandler, the office of Los Alamos County Probate judge was included in the Governor’s call for the general election. As Judge McKerley’s resignation comes too late for his name to be removed from the primary ballot, his withdrawal from the ballot will not be effective.

The election laws allow a political party to replace its nominee on the general election when a vacancy occurs on the ballot after the primary. Therefore, the Republican Party can name a substitute candidate for the office of Probate Judge.

Any other person who wishes to run for the office may do so as a write in candidate by making a declaration of candidacy through the County Clerk’s office by the deadline of June 30, 2016.

Proposed Schedule For Filling Probate Judge Vacancy:

  • Advertise the vacancy and solicit applications – May 25;
  • Deadline for applications – June 21; and
  • Selection of new Probate Judge – June 28.

This issue is on the agenda for Tuesday’s County Council meeting beginning at 6 p.m., in Council Chambers at the Municipal Building. Council may vote to accept Judge McKerley’s resignation and thank him for his service and further move to direct staff to advertise the vacancy in the office of Probate Judge and solicit applications for a person to be appointed to fill the office until Dec. 31, 2016, which is the County manager’s recommendation.

As an alternative, Council could refuse to accept the resignation or to solicit applications and leave the office abandoned until an elected candidate takes office in January. Doing so would leave those with probate business to resort to the District Court until the office is filled.

Letter of Resignation: