They say 90 percent of life is just showing up, but records indicate some Taos County commissioners can’t seem to get the “showing up” part down.

According to agenda minutes obtained from the county clerk’s office, commissioner Joe Mike Duran has missed nine of the 27 meetings this year in which voting took place or was supposed to take place. This includes regularly scheduled meetings, special meetings and emergency meetings.

Of the work study sessions, in which no items are voted on, Duran missed six of the eight that took place this year. Work study sessions are meant to give commissioners the opportunity to discuss at length certain issues that they don’t have time to discuss at voting meetings.

One emergency meeting scheduled Sept. 12 was not called to order because a quorum was not reached. Only two of the five commissioners — Gabriel Romero and Tom Blankenhorn — were present.

Duran has missed more meetings than any other commissioner since January. Next is Commissioner Larry Sanchez, who missed seven, one of which he was attending a conference, but has missed only one work study session. The latest meeting Sanchez did not attend was Tuesday’s (Oct. 1).

According to records, Duran missed three meetings in a row during the month of May. He missed two meetings last month in which voting took place. He was the only commissioner who voted against a joint E911 command center with the town last month, and told The Taos News at Tuesday’s meeting he doesn’t like to attend meetings in which he has to deal with the town, especially Mayor Darren Cordova. He prefers leaving those matters to the other commissioners, he said.

“The town is for the town,” Duran said.

Duran also told The Taos News he isn’t concerned with attendance at work study sessions and strives only to attend voting meetings.

Duran can’t run for re-election, but has 15 more months left in office. Duran has been a commissioner since 2007.

Commissioner Dan Barrone has missed one voting meeting and two work study sessions this year. Blankenhorn missed two work study sessions and three regular meetings, one of which he was attending a conference. Romero has missed zero work study sessions and two voting meetings, one of which he was attending a conference

Duran receives a salary of $40,106 for the county, including benefits.

He did not return calls requesting further comment as of press time, and neither did Sanchez.

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Linda Bence
Linda Bence

Comm. Duran should be recalled. His comments about not liking to go to meetings involving the town are unacceptable and his pay and benefits should be stopped immediately.

Dave Johnson
Dave Johnson

If they can't show up for work why are they receiving a paycheck? Vote them into the unemployment line where they belong. Is it any wonder why the county is in such a state of dysfunction?


This is a complete breakdown of leadership at the top. Mr. Duran should set an example by attending the meetings, and not making such arrogant comments. Mr. Barrone should take the lead on setting an ethical standard for the Commission to follow. Perhaps with a change to the rules where any commissioner who misses more than 3 meetings without pre-authorization will be docked pay proportionately (ex – miss 5 of 20 meetings, docked 25% of pay).


We (my husband and I) have watched Taos change for the worse with each visit. We come to relax, spend money, and eat all the delicious food we don’t get in Denver. What is your local government doing with all the tax money to help everyone exist? Every wall in our home has art from Taos – we have no more space. The Taos Square has lost its appeal - the storekeepers are all new and foreign. They use a broom to sweep dirt into the sidewalk/street (into the air of us). What is driving everyone out of business? Why did you allow the Fetchin Inn to change over to private condos? Ogelvie’s was the bomb in the 90s. I bet they are empty 90% of the time and used only by the rich in winter. That means shop owners lose money because the hotels are not at 100% CAPACITY. We used to stay at the Fetchin Inn and truly loved it. We have stayed at the Mable Dodge Luhan Gatehouse, several B&B’s, the old Don Fernando Holiday Inn, but now we stay at El Monte and visit our favorite shops and restaurants. What is going on in Taos? Now Graham's Grille has closed, the bookshop had to move several years back into a smaller space, the main traffic light still holds even longer lines of cars, and you seem to attract hippies (with no money). The delicious Appletree closed, so what is wrong? This is all very "non-Taos-like" and a big turn off. It seems that there are empty shops and all new owners or sell cheap trinkets. Every year the meters scream for more money – so we can go spend money (?).