Commissioners hear from Bernalillo County manager candidates

BernCo commissioners hear from county manager candidates

Commissioners are in a time crunch to find a new county manager, a process that has been embroiled in controversy.

BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. — The Bernalillo County Commission held a hybrid public meeting with the three candidates vying to fill the county manager position.

The meeting took place in person and online. It happened at the suggestion of the New Mexico Department of Justice after it ruled three county commissioners violated the Open Meetings Act.

Investigators say Commissioners Eric Olivas, Adriann Barboa and Barbara Baca held private talks about the selection process of the new county manager. Because a majority of commissioners were present, it was considered a closed-door meeting, which violated the OMA.

The NMDOJ said they could remedy this by holding a public meeting. Candidates spoke, then a Q&A and public comment followed.

Cindy Chavez

“The most important thing we can do is deeply and meaningfully engage the people who work for the institution.”

Marcos Gonzales

“My roots here in New Mexico run deep with a focus on service and implementation.”

Joseph Lessard

“When I was leading the city of Austin’s approach to negotiations, we rejected the idea of using an adversarial approach.”

They then held a public vote on the hiring process.

Current manager Julie Morgas Baca is retiring at the end of the month so county commissioners have until then to decide on a new manager.