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Santa Fe city manager, mayor announce three new department heads

SANTA FE, N.M. — Three new department heads for Santa Fe city government have been announced by Acting City Manager Erik Litzenberg and Mayor Alan Webber. They’re the first department heads hired since Webber’s March election.

Regina Wheeler, former CEO of Sunpower  by Positive Energy Solar, is the new director of the Public Works Department.

The new  head of the city Finance Department is Mary McCoy, who formerly held positions in New Mexico state government and is returning from Boston where she was revenue manager, Administration and Finance Cabinet, in city government there.

Bernadette Salazar, Santa Fe County’s human resources director, is taking over the same job in city government.

In the news release, Litzenberg said, “Big changes are coming to City Hall, with more than half of our leadership team turning over. These three stood out from a talented applicant pool for their unique combination of vision and expertise, and we’re excited to see their leadership shape our City.”

Webber said, “We’re building a diverse and accomplished team to lead this City. These three women are going to help us make Santa Fe the most eco-friendly, sustainable City in the nation, rebuild our finances from the ground up, and create an entirely new culture of support and accountability for our employees. These are the people whose leadership will turn ideas into action and deliver real change to Santa Fe.”

Here’s what the news release says about three new department heads:

– “Regina Wheeler moved to New Mexico as a teenager and brings 20 years of leadership experience in the public and private sectors to the Public Works Director position. An engineer by training, she earned her Bachelor’s degree from UNM in Electrical Engineering and her Master’s in Environmental Engineering from NMSU.

“Ms. Wheeler joins the City from the solar industry, where she was the first CEO of Positive Energy Solar, building the company’s structure, people, and processes into one of the leaders in New Mexico. She also has a successful history leading the Environmental Services Division at the City. Throughout her career, Ms. Wheeler has developed a reputation as a leader and an innovator in sustainability, aligning with Mayor Webber’s goal to make Santa Fe the most eco-friendly City in the nation.

“Ms. Wheeler said, ‘I’m really excited to be coming back to the City in this leadership role to help make the Mayor’s goals for sustainability, family-friendliness, and user-friendliness a reality. The Public Works staff does extraordinary work in many areas that touch public life in our community, and I am ready to work with our employees and our City leaders to support those efforts.'”

-“Mary McCoy brings more than a decade of experience in government finance, administration, and fiscal policy to a Finance team that is a central focus of Mayor Webber’s administration. Previously, Ms. McCoy has worked for the New Mexico Department of Finance, the Legislative Finance Committee, and the New Mexico Livestock Board. She is returning home from Boston, where she managed $3.3 billion in revenue for the City of Boston, oversaw city-wide revenue maximization, crafted legislation to fund universal Pre-Kindergarten, implemented a $20 million annual fund for affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation.

” McCoy said, ‘I am honored to join Mayor Webber’s team and come back home to New Mexico to serve the residents of Santa Fe. I have a strong background instituting financial controls, navigating tough audits, and building a solid financial foundation for municipal and state governments. I am eager to start working on the 10-point corrective action plan presented by the Mayor and the Finance Committee.'”

“Born and raised in Albuquerque, Ms. McCoy is a Fullbright Fellow and the first in her family to attend college. She graduated from Wellesley College and earned a master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.”

– “Bernadette Salazar joins the City after 12 years leading Santa Fe County’s HR Department, where she built a successful track record establishing exactly the type of professional management and employee development programs the Mayor is seeking to implement at the City. Ms. Salazar’s role will be central to professionalizing the City and creating a workplace culture of accountability and results that Santa Feans can be proud of.

“Born and raised in Santa Fe, she is a graduate of Santa Fe Community College and the University of Phoenix and earned an MBA in Human Resources Management from the College of Santa Fe. She brings 17 years of HR experience at the municipal and county levels and five years in the private sector.

“‘I am very grateful for all the opportunities and experiences I have had working in local government so far. It’s exciting to join this team that has such great vision of what is possible for my hometown. I believe Santa Fe has amazing potential and I’m ready to bring my knowledge and expertise to support the culture of professionalism, success, and accountability to have a positive impact on the people we serve.'”