Breaking News: Reyes Resigns, Takes RUS Job
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, Roger Glendenning, announced on Friday, March 31 that KCEC CEO Luis Reyes has been appointed Director of Economic Development for the Mountain States (Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico).
“Mr. Reyes has demonstrated exemplary imagination and creativity for rural Coops,” said Mr. Glendenning in a press release. Trump appointee Secretary Sonny Perdue former governor of Georgia, has insisted on appointing experienced entrepreneurs to carry out Trump’s policies in “Making America Great Again,” according to Glendenning.
“Mr. Reyes’ experience with Broadband initiatives as well as the Coop’s expansion into diversified enterprises like Propane and Call Centers speaks to the new direction of the Coop movement. He will be a real leader for the Mountain West,” said Glendenning.
The Reyes resignation caught KCEC Board of Trustees by surprise at the Monday afternoon executive session, according to insiders who were sworn to secrecy until the USDA’s RUS issued the above press release.
“Luis is the best manager KCEC ever had,” said longtime trustee Manuel Medina. “He can’t be replaced.”
Trustee Luisa Valerio-Mylet mentioned Luis’s dedication and said, “He will be missed.”
New Mexico Public Regulations Commissioner Pat Lyons, a republican like Reyes, said, “When they called me for a recommendation, I thought they were joking. He’s a slippery devil. We couldn’t keep up with him in New Mexico. Maybe they can.”
Trustee Virgil Martinez, a republican and longtime critic, said he wasn’t surprised. “Luis is a lot like Trump. When they called me I said he’d fit right in to the new administration. He’s got the County wired so he’s familiar with surveillance.”
In a surprisingly cordial conversation, Mr. Reyes told Taos Friction that he’s ready for a new challenge with new faces.
“These trustees and the Taosenos have worn me out. They call me at all hours to ask for jobs for primos and complain about their bills or say their vecinos need special treatment.”
Reyes continued, “A lot of criticism aimed at me by the public is the result of trying to please eleven trustees. The Mayor wants special favors, Christmas Tree lights, all the Gringos want green energy.’ He laughed. “You can’t please everybody. But I guess the federal government thinks I do a good job.”
“We won’t be leaving Taos,” said Reyes of his family plans. “I’ll work at the Command Center. Thanks to Broadband. RUS is leasing the facility from the Coop for $118,000 per year, which reduces KCEC debt. That’s a bonus.
“I am encouraged by Secretary Perdue’s aim to privatize the Coops. The politics of the Trustees prevents the institution of best standards or adopting economies of scale. Everything’s about the villages. My trustees depend on their grandchildren for guidance to use email or browse the Internet.”
He paused, then, “You know how they are,” he said, laughing.
Asked about allegations that he kept two sets of books, Reyes’s eyes twinkled, “Why would I do that?”
KCEC Board of Trustee President Bobby Ortega said Andrew Gonzales, former town councilor, would serve as Interim CEO. “He’s young and full of beans. He’ll take us forward.” Asked about hiring an electrical engineer, Ortega said, “We are considering Jerome Lucero, the former manager at Mora.”
“Yeah,” said Trustee Virgil Martinez,” They’d rather have Jerome on the inside than pissing on the outside.”
Councilman Fritz Hahn and Manager Rick Bellis at the Town were all smiles in response to the news but refused to comment. County Commissioner Tom Blankenhorn called Reyes, “an innovator. The community will miss his creativity.”
A longtime lineman and union rep said, on the condition of anonymity, “It’s the best thing to happen to the Coop in my thirty years.”