FARMINGTON — As one candidate in the Central Consolidated School District school board election took himself off the ballot, another got on.

Randy Jensen no longer is running in District 4, and Fred Hatathlie again is a candidate in District 1. Both appeared in San Juan County District Court on Tuesday in separate hearings.

Hatathlie on Tuesday challenged County Clerk Debbie Holmes's decision to remove him from the ballot in December.

Hatathlie, of Kirtland, filed his candidacy papers on Dec. 18 with the San Juan County Clerk's Office, four days after registering to vote in San Juan County.

Though he filed his candidacy papers before the filing deadline, Holmes informed Hatathlie that he likely was ineligible because he was supposed to have been a registered voter when the district passed a resolution on Nov. 15 to hold elections. The elections will be Feb. 5.

Holmes cited a state statute, which reads, "No person shall become a candidate for membership on a board unless his record of voter registration shows he is a qualified elector." Because he had registered after the date on which the district school board approved a resolution to hold the election, Holmes was under the impression that he was not qualified to run.

"I think that if the statute is vague, then we need to have it clarified," Holmes said Tuesday.

Judge Karen Townsend said she understood both sides, and why Holmes took the action she did, but felt that Hatathlie should be placed back on the ballot.

"I think this is a very important, significant case," Townsend said.


"I think it's a decision that can be and should be appealed no matter which way I go."

The statute was "poorly written" according to Hatathlie's attorney, Cosme Ripol, though Hatathlie was pleased at the outcome of the case.

"Our students should be represented equally and (we should) have their best interests at heart," Hatathlie said.

Hatathlie will run against current board member Randy Manning, who has served on the board for about 20 years.

Jensen decided to withdraw his candidacy before his hearing began.

Christina Aspaas, a school board candidate, filed a complaint Dec. 28, alleging that Jensen was not eligible to run in District 4 because he was using numerous addresses, some of which were false.

Aspaas argued that Jensen had left the district and moved to a residence outside the county, noting that any false statement could constitute a fourth-degree felony under state law.

Jensen said he had multiple properties within the county, many of which he considered his homes.

Jensen did say his wife's primary residence is outside of the district currently because she faced threats from district employees when she lived there.

Jensen's wife, former assistant superintendent Sharon Jensen, currently is suing the district for discrimination.

In a Dec. 21 police report filed with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office, Randy Jensen said that district Superintendent Don Levinski was conspiring with Scott Nicolay, district enrichment coordinator, to search for and harass Sharon Jensen.

Aspaas will be running against Irene Blue Eyes Claw.