Ex-Legislator To Oversee N.M. Elections

SANTA FE – Secretary of State Dianna Duran is reorganizing her office into two divisions and has hired departing Sen. Rod Adair to head one of them, with oversight of elections.

Adair, a conservative Roswell Republican and veteran of many legislative scuffles with Democrats, did not run for re-election last year. He could start the job, which will pay about $80,000, as early as next week, Duran told the Journal on Friday.

Adair will be the administrator of a division that includes human resources, public policy, and elections and related matters, such as campaign finance reporting and ethics, Duran said.

Bureau of Elections Director Bobbi Shearer will remain in her job.

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The other newly created division is a business services division. It will combine current business-related functions with the corporate registration and reporting office that is slated to be transferred from the Public Regulation Commission to the secretary of state under a constitutional amendment voters approved in November.

The business services division will be headed by Ken Ortiz, who has been Duran’s chief of staff. The chief of staff position will be eliminated, at least for now, according to Duran.

Duran said the influx of at least 20 employees from the PRC office – joining 33 people who already work in the Secretary of State’s Office – prompted her to look at how the office is structured.

“We decided it was a perfect time to reorganize,” she said.

Duran, a Republican, served in the state Senate with Adair and said she has known him for nearly two decades.

Adair is a demographer, a redistricting expert and a Republican strategist who has helped Duran and other GOP candidates. He was a vocal critic of the Secretary of State’s Office when it was run by Duran’s Democratic predecessors.

“He’s very intelligent, he’s very qualified, he’s very competent,” said Duran, who described Adair as the best person for the job, an exempt position.

She said among his first tasks will be helping Ortiz develop the legislation that shifts the PRC’s corporate regulation and reporting office to the secretary of state.

Adair served in the Senate for 16 years. He decided not to run again after redistricting combined his district with that of incumbent Sen. William Burt, R-Alamogordo. Adair said he wanted to avoid an intraparty fight.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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