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Town Manager Search Winding Down in Bernalillo

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Mayor expects to have his recommendation ready for town councilors on Monday

Bernalillo’s days as a town without a manager appear to be nearly over.

Mayor Jack Torres expects to present his recommendation for the position at the Town Council meeting on Monday.

He has interviewed six of the 16 people who applied for the job, which has been filled by interim managers for more than a year. He still has some details to work out, including salary, and references to check. The selection procedure will include a background check, Torres said.

Former Town Manager Stephen Jerge resigned in April 2009, after discrepancies surfaced concerning expenses totalling $45,000 that were charged to his town-issued credit card. Jerge’s annual salary was $86,000 when he left.

Town officials advertised the position last year, attracting more than two dozen applicants, but former Mayor Patricia Chávez had not picked someone to recommend before she was defeated by Torres in the March 2 municipal election.

Torres decided not to review the previous applicants and instead launched a new search. The new crop of job seekers includes at least two repeat applicants, Ed Chismar and David Ruiz.

Chismar is the Bernalillo County Parks and Recreation director who formerly directed the equivalent department in Rio Rancho and filled in as that city’s manager for a few months in 2003.

Ruiz was city manager in Gallup for 12 years. In 2003, he moved to state government and was director of the Department of Finance Administration Local Government Division until the end of 2005.

Torres said he was impressed with the caliber of the applicants, several of whom are from other states. One of his priorities, however, is to find someone with a successful track record in municipal administration in New Mexico.

“I’m looking for a leader (who) would be comfortable in our diverse community and has the ability to communicate well,” Torres said.

 

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