15 apply to be the next city manager


Belen Mayor Jerah Cordova says he wants someone who has strong leadership abilities and a deep understanding of city government as the next city manager.

There were a total of 15 applications submitted for the position, and the mayor and a committee made up of Mayor Pro-Tem David Carter, two city employees and two local business owners, will interview several of the candidates on Friday. Cordova said someone from the city's human resources department will also have a hand in the process.

If they don't find the right person after Friday, the mayor said the committee will interview more candidates.

"I'm confident Belen will have a city manager ready for city council consideration by next week," the mayor said.

Interim City Manager Mary Lucy Baca said she would stay on in the position until her replacement is selected.

Of those who applied, seven are Valencia County residents, three live and work in the state and five want to relocate to the Hub City from other parts of the country.

"We have a diverse mix — from Belen residents to applicants in other parts of the state and as far away as New York," Cordova said. "The ideal person would also have some understanding of what makes Belen unique."

The local applicants include:

• Paul Baca, of Belen, who has been president and CEO of Valley Improvement Association since 2010. He was also the vice president, in charge of finance and administration for VIA.

Baca owns and operates Long John Silvers, A&W and Kicks 66, and was the general and finance manager for Baca Auto Sales from 1984 to 2009.

He has taken courses in business management, accounting and marketing at New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus.

• Greg Carbajal, of Belen, works at State Farm Insurance in Los Lunas and has an associate degree in computer science.

• Lorenzo Carrillo, of Belen, was a Belen city councilor from 2010-12 and a member of the Belen Board of Education from 1993-96.

He was a physical security specialist from 2006-13 at the National Nuclear Security Administration in Albuquerque.

Carrillo has a business administration degree from New Mexico Highlands University and has taken coursework for an MBA at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Phoenix.

• Lawrence Kaneshiro, of Los Lunas, is the director of technology for the city of Belen, a position he's held since 2007. He also served as the director of elections for Valencia County from 1993-2007.

He attended UNM-VC, where he took courses in computer science and business administration.

• John Sanchez, of Belen, has been taking care of his parents since June 2012, but prior to that, he worked for the Department of Energy in Nevada from 1989-2012. He also worked in budget and resource management from 1995-2001 for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project Office.

He has a bachelor's degree in accounting from NMSU.

• Michael Steininger, of Belen, currently works as a special director for the Department of Finance and Administration in Sunland Park, N.M.

Steininger was the finance director for the city of Belen from 2009-11, as well in the village of Ruidoso, and Socorro and Valencia counties. He has a Bachelor of Arts in accounting from Lewis University.

• Audrey Vallejos, of Belen, is a former city councilor. She is a certified municipal clerk, retiring after 27 years as a municipal government employee. Before retiring, she worked as a clerk for the city of Belen.

Those who applied for the city manager's position and are living in the state, include:

• Deniece Cornett, of Milan, N.M., owns Center Notice, a government and business consulting company. She was aso the emergency manager at the Pueblo of Acoma from January to July 2011. She is currently working on her second bachelor's degree in information and communication technology, and has a bachelor's in psychology.

• Stephani Johnson, of Los Alamos, was the community services director Los Alamos County from 2002-11, and served as interim community development director. She has been a city manager for the city of Sequim, Wash., and for the city of Independence, Ore.

She has a master's degree in public administration from the University of Missouri.

• Mark Threadgill, of Tularosa, N.M., was the assistant city manager for the city of Alamogordo from 2006-12. He was also the community development director and an operations analyst. He served as a city clerk and administrative services director for the city of Socorro.

Threadgill has a master's degree in public administration from the University of Texas at El Paso.

The applicants from out-of-state include:

• Christian Crane, of Herriman, Utah, was the chief financial and operations officer for Osteoarthritis Centers of America in Salt Lake City from 2011-13. He was also operations manager for the Utah Transit Authority from 2009-11.

Crane has a master's degree in public administration from Brigham Young University.

• Chance Dragich, of Lubbock, Texas, is currently a manager of APEX GeoScience Inc. in Lubbock. He was also a supervisor, director and senior technician at Texas Tech University from 1997-2012.

He has a bachelor's degree in organizational management from Lubbock Christian University.

• Alan Grindstaff, of Maize, Kan., is a consultant for ALG Consulting in Kansas. His prior experience includes being an administrative services director for the city of Rawlins, Wyo., from 2013-14, and was the city manager for both Crawley and Jasper, Texas.

He was a major in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1976 to 2002, and has a master's degree in public administration from BYU.

• David Milliron, of Avondale Estates, Ga., was the city manager and chief administrative officer for the city of Stockbridge, Ga., in 2013. He also served as treasurer and chief financial officer for Stockbridge.

He is a certified local government finance officer and has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communication.

• James Slaughter, of Beacon, N.Y., was the interim city manager and director of planning and development for the city of Newburgh, N.Y.

He has a master's degree in urban and regional planning from Vermont College and Norwich University, and an MPA in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

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