ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The discontent with Bernalillo County's treasurer is growing as one commissioner pushes for a no-confidence vote and a voter prepares to start a petition to kick the main money man out of office.
County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins said voters she’s talked to are questioning why County Treasurer Manny Ortiz still has a job.
“We've gotten some emails. I’ve gotten a lot of verbal comments,” Hart Stebbins said. “The salient part is that there has actually been as loss of funds.
"I think people recognize what that means, and they are really concerned about it."
Many said Ortiz, an elected official, went on an investment binge.
Commissioners said to make sure the bills get paid the treasurer's office had to sell county investments at a loss paying $800,000 in penalties for cashing out early. However, the loss could be in the millions of dollars.
Hart Stebbins said voters are upset.
“They want to know if the county has any authority to affect the treasurer’s job, which we don’t,” Hart Stebbins said. However, voters do, she added.
George Richmond is now preparing to start a petition drive to get Ortiz recalled.
“I expect to start by the end of this week, Friday,” Richmond said.
Richmond said he's been following the money mess and says the treasurer is gambling with taxpayer dollars.
“I’m sure he knows that what he’s doing is not OK,” Richmond said.
Ortiz would not do an on-camera interview with KRQE News 13 during the day but said over the phone that “the office is running smooth."
He blames the media for sparking negative reaction.
Richmond doesn't see it that way warning if Ortiz doesn't listen to commissioners about what he calls bad investments. he’ll start the petition to get him out of office.
“I have no doubt that we will get enough signatures,” Richmond said.
The treasurer insists he's made money for the county and the loss from pulling funds out early doesn't compare.
County commissioners have been frustrated over the treasurer's unwillingness to meet with them in person to discuss their concerns. Commissioner Debbie O'Malley said she's in the process of scheduling a meeting on a vote of no confidence in the treasurer.
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