The Imperial Irrigation District director who has been arrested on suspicion of felony child abuse has resigned his elected office effective immediately, according to his lawyer.
Anthony Sanchez has been reflecting on his position and no longer feels the need to prolong the issue further, said attorney Ryan Childers Saturday afternoon. He’s come to a resolution of the issue in his own heart and mind, Childers said.
“Obviously with the circumstances surrounding the criminal investigation it’s going to be important that he focus his time and energy on the charges he’s facing and beginning to rebuild his life with his family,” Childers said.
Sanchez is in his second term as IID director, first being elected in 2006. He represents the city of Calexico, Heber and part of Holtville on the board that manages the water and electricity in the Imperial and Coachella valleys. His term was set to expire in December 2014.
Some members of the public have already moved to make their opinions known. More than 1,000 people have signed an online petition on gopetition.com calling for a recall of the Division 5 director. A good portion of those who signed their names didn’t give their city of residence, while some others were from outside the area. However, a number were locals, from Brawley, Imperial, El Centro and Calexico.
One person has picked up a book from the Elections Office that spells out how to recall an elected official, said Debra Porter, elections coordinator at the Imperial County Elections Office. More could have found it online at the Secretary of State’s Web site. As of Friday no one had turned in any paperwork indicating a recall.
Although it’s no longer an issue, Porter said recalls are not a fast process. It’s a multi-step process that includes petitions and at times a special election. It takes between six to eight months.
The decision to resign is a smart move on Sanchez’s part, IID Board President John Pierre Menvielle said. He’s doing the right thing under the situation he’s facing with his personal life. This will give him time to get his personal life straightened out.
Sanchez had been among the majority side of many 3-2 votes at the district that pitted two philosophies against each other.
The whole situation may be a good thing if it can bring both sides to the table in the interim so that they can work out their issues, Menvielle said. That would be one of the positives of the resignation.
During Menvielle’s 7 1/2 years on the board, he’s never experienced a situation where a director had to step down like this and the board had to fill the position, he said. There may end up being a third seat up for election in November, depending on what the IID decides to do with the Division 5 seat.
There is set to be a supplemental agenda issued Monday so that IID’s general counsel can advise the board on what they can do with the position and what role the Imperial County Board of Supervisors plays, said IID General Manager Kevin Kelley. The agenda item is set to be talked about in open session at Tuesday’s board meeting in El Centro.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at email@example.com or 760-337-3441.
Join the discussion and add your comments to this story! Scroll down or click here and tell us what you think.