LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) - A county commissioner is being asked to step down over sustained allegations of inappropriate contact with county employees
Valencia County Commissioner David Hyder was publicly censured during a special county commission meeting Thursday, where his fellow commissioners also asked for his voluntary resignation.
The request comes following the completion of a recent independent investigation into allegations against Hyder involving several female Valencia County employees.
In January, the three accusers came forward to Valencia County's Human Resources Department, accusing Hyder of inappropriate touching.
KRQE News 13 has learned that Hyder is accused of touching the women's hair and shoulders.
According to the censure resolution, Hyder admitted to touching his accusers, but said that he "did not intend for his touching to be offensive or intimidating or sexual in nature."
"It's just not a really good situation," said Charles Eaton, following Thursday evening's commission vote to censure Hyder.
Alongside Commissioner Eaton, commissioners Jhonathan Aragon, Helen Cole and David Carlberg also voted to formally censure Hyder Thursday through a resolution, which calls Hyder's conduct "rude, inappropriate and offensive" to county employees.
"I definitely applaud the folks that came forward, the employees that came forward, I know that was probably a hard thing to do," said Jhonathan Aragon, the commission chair.
"We have to look out for the employees," said Commissioner Helen Cole.
Hyder, who's entering his fourth year on the commission, has yet to respond to the censure. He did not attend Thursday's meeting, but county administrators say he was aware of what was taking place and invited to come.
Some residents voiced support for commissioners' actions Thursday night.
"As a resident, I applaud your efforts," said Eugene Pickett of Valencia County.
"I'm here to thank you for doing the right thing today, for standing up for the women," said Pam Cordova of Los Lunas.
Ultimately, the censure doesn't carry any forced punishment. Commissioners have asked for Hyder's immediate resignation, but the decision is ultimately voluntarily up to Hyder.
"If I have any recommendation to Commissioner Hyder, that's what I would do," said Eaton.
If Hyder doesn't resign, commissioners want him to take voluntary harassment training and not to enter any county buildings without a chaperone.
However, commissioners are hoping Hyder walks away.
"That's probably the best thing that needs to happen," said Eaton.
KRQE News 13 called a phone number for Commissioner Hyder on Thursday, but no one answered.
Hyder's seat will go up for election in November 2018. The candidacy filing deadline to run in that race is next Tuesday.