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Veteran administrator named city’s COO

Lawrence Rael

Lawrence Rael

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Lawrence Rael, a veteran administrator who previously served in the administrations of three mayors, will become the city’s interim chief operating officer on Friday.

Mayor-elect Tim Keller made the announcement earlier today in a news release. Rael will be replacing Michael Riordan.

Keller also announced that Oriana Sandoval will serve as interim deputy city attorney, a position created by the new administration. Sandoval will focus on such things as immigrant rights protection, refugee affairs, environmental justice and civil rights.

“We’re building a talented team to tackle Albuquerque’s challenges head on,” Keller said in the release. Referring to Rael and Sandoval, he said, “Together, they will bring a powerful combination of fresh talent and perspective with deep local government experience to the job.”

Rael served as assistant to the chief administrative officer and later as chief administrative officer for three different mayors, the release states.

“Throughout his career, he was instrumental in key projects like the expansion of the airport and Convention Center; development of the Balloon Fiesta Park; Explora Science Center, the Aquarium and Botanic Gardens, and the Isotopes Baseball Park; and transportation infrastructure including managing the planning of the Rail Runner Express commuter rail line,” the release states. “Rael also served as the president of the Green Chamber of Commerce, advocating to increase investments in New Mexico’s renewable energy sector.”

Sandoval has served as the policy director and chief executive officer at the Center for Civic Policy, a position she has held since 2013.

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