Commission to offer new manager's contract

........................................................................................................................................................................................

After what may have been the longest executive session on record for the Valencia County Commission, commissioners voted 4-1 to offer the job of county manager to Bruce Swingle.

Current County Manager Eric Zamora announced his resignation last month. He will be leaving the county at the end of the month to take a position with the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. Zamora will serve as the district's Belen Division manager.

Swingle, the loss prevention manager for the New Mexico Association of Counties, was one of five candidates interviewed by the commissioners during closed session Wednesday afternoon.

In an interview Thursday morning, Swingle said he had not had any discussions with county officials about the job beyond the interview.

"My only comment is I am very excited about the prospect of working for the county," Swingle said.

The commissioners went into executive session after their business meeting concluded around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. They reappeared shortly before 5 p.m.

Commissioner Mary Andersen made the motion to instruct the county's human resource director, Dan Zolnier, to offer the position of county manager to Swingle.

Commissioner Ron Gentry seconded Andersen's motion.

Commissioners Donald Holliday, Lawrence Romero, Gentry and Andersen voted "yes" on the motion while Commissioner Georgia Otero-Kirkham voted "no."

Swingle began working for the NMAOC in May 2003, shortly after earning his bachelor's of science in occupational education from Wayland Baptist University.

Prior to that, he was the safety design officer/public safety risk manager for the city of Albuquerque from 1997 to 2003; the loss control/risk manager for eight years for McKinley County; the McKinley County undersheriff from 1985 to 1989 and a patrolman with the New Mexico State Police on two separate occasions — from 1981 to 1985 and again from 1989 to 1991.

Also interviewed that afternoon were Michael Ciesielski, Michael Hawkes, Michael Miller and James Payne.

Ciesielski has been the chief operations officer for the New Mexico Community Health Worker Association since 2006. He holds master's degrees in business administration, public administration and parks and recreation administration, and a bachelor's in general studies.

His executive positions include city of Albuquerque mayoral assistant, general manager of a municipal utility district in El Paso, Texas, Grant County manager and city of Artesia human resources director.

Hawkes sits on the Alamo Navajo School Board, was a deputy chief/inspector with the New Mexico State Police and an architectural/civil engineer draftsman for an Albuquerque company. He has a master's in public administration, a bachelor's in general studies, an associates of science and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Miller has served as the city manager for the city of Farmington, as well as the cities of Columbia, Tenn., East Point, Ga., Fulton, Mo., Macon, Mo. and was a city administrator for the city of Saint Charles, Mo.

He is an International City/County Management Association credentialed city manager, holds a bachelor's in public administration and is a graduate of the United States Army Special Warfare School and the United States Army Aviation School.

Payne has served as the city manager for the city of Rio Rancho, city administrator for the city of Waukesha, Wi., city business administrator for the city of Franklin, Wis., and the city administrator for the city of LeMars, Iowa.

He holds a master's in public administration and a bachelor's of arts in modernization processes (political science). Payne is also a ICMA credentialed city manager.

Other applicants for the position were Rick Brinneman, Bruce Sanchez, Allan Hanlon, Richard Jaramillo, Marylou Dellafiora and Tom Greer.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.