New Mexico’s top finance official to retire

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Deborah Romero, the head of New Mexico’s Department of Finance and Administration, will retire in December, marking the end of a career in state government that has spanned nearly 50 years.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office announced Romero’s upcoming retirement on Tuesday.

Romero has worked for nine different gubernatorial administrations and participated in over 40 legislative sessions. As cabinet secretary, she played a key role in the drafting of state budgets and oversaw the distribution of $1.8 billion in federal funds that included millions of dollars for emergency rental assistance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Romero also created the state’s system for tracking capital outlay funds that are used for local projects.

“There is no question that her decades of work on matters of state finance have left an indelible and undeniably positive mark,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

Romero said public service is a family tradition and that the last few years of her career have been the most exciting and rewarding.

“I am blessed to be part of an administration that has accomplished so much during a worldwide pandemic, extraordinary fires and flooding, and the challenges of rebuilding a stable and functioning government,” she said. “I began as a student intern, and now, to finish as a cabinet secretary is a dream come true.”

The governor’s office said a national search will be conducted to find Romero’s successor.