Rio Grande County attorney and airport director leave county to pursue passions

RIO GRANDE COUNTY- Over the course of the past few months, Rio Grande County has seen a number of resignations from different departments and it has put a strain on the county, especially during this unprecedented time. According to the Rio Grande County Commissioners, two more employees will be leaving by the end of the month.

For many years the law offices of William Dunn have served the county as their legal attorneys and although they will continue to be working in the county, the firm will be representing Rio Grande Social Services. Ryan Dunn, son of William Dunn, who took over for his father about two years ago has the opportunity to do the work he loves.

“First, I’m not leaving the County. I have been the attorney for the Rio Grande County Department of Social Services since 2010 and I have a great relationship with the Department, its Director, Jody Kern, and the incredible employees who work for the department; some of whom have worked for the department for 20 to 25 plus years. And that’s not even mentioning the department’s Child Support Supervisor, Helen Martinez, who has been with the Department for 53 years. I will, for as long as they’ll have me, continue to represent Rio Grande County Department of Social Services.”

Dunn continued to state, “For this reason, and this reason alone, I gave my 30-day notice to the Board of County Commissioners that I would be terminating my contract, which was set to expire at the end of December, at the end of October (approximately two-months early). Realistically, there are only so many hours in a day and the nature of social services representation, particularly in the area of child welfare, is such that those matters necessarily take priority over other matters. It simply would not be fair to the Commissioners for me to take on the Department of Social Services only to let the needs of the Board and the County take a back seat.”

“I recognize that 2020 has been a challenging year for the County and for the entire country as a whole. I’ve personally heard rumors that my decision was due to conflict with the Board or individual members of the Board, but I’ll say unequivocally that could not be further from the truth. I have very much enjoyed my time working with the Board and developing personal relationships with John, Gene and Suzanne. I will miss working with each of them as closely as I have. Likewise, I have really enjoyed working closely with Sheriff McDonald and his staff, Cindy Hill and JJ Mondragon, just to name a few. I will stay on until the Commissioners have found a new attorney to represent the Board and the interests of the County and will then, to the extent needed, help that attorney transition into the role even if doing so is on my personal time.”

Ken Rominger Airport in Del Norte will also be seeking a new director because Jay Sarason will be leaving to pursue his new line of work which began at the end of the school year last year. Sarason stated that once he began his aviation classes at the Sargent School District, he realized how much time the new program was going to require and with a heavy heart, made his decision to pursue his educational career fulltime.

“Sadly, I will be leaving as Director of the Ken Rominger Airport at the end of the month. I have enjoyed my time with the county and will help with the transition in any way I can. I underestimated the time needed to teach the aviation classes and although I love what I do, teaching has become my top priority. I decided that teaching aviation to students is more important to me.”

Sarason continued to state that the new program at Sargent School is going very well and has become very popular among students. “We are doing Freshman classes this year, with the hope that we can extend the program to Sophomore, Junior and Seniors in the near future. We are even going to have the opportunity to meet Ken Rominger in coming weeks.”

Sarason will be staying on to help find a replacement for his position with the county until the end of the month. “My decision had nothing to do with anything other than this new adventure is where my passion lies. We have been doing some great projects with the students like building hot air balloons and will be building wind tunnels next. The students are really enjoying this. I would also like to add that teachers, educators around the globe are some of the most underappreciated people. There are numerous dedicated, qualified teachers and they should be recognized for the amazing work they are doing.”

The county is in the process of seeking a replacement for both positions. More information can be found on their website at


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