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After a closed meeting on June 23, the Las Cruces City Council announced the five finalists to be considered for city manager.
The five are former senior advisor to the UTEP president Estrella Escobar, of El Paso; Chula Vista, California City Manager Gary Halbert; consultant and former City of McKinney, Texas deputy city manager Jose Madrigal; Los Lunas, New Mexico Village Administrator Gregory Martin; and Eagle Mountain, Utah City Administrator Ifo Pili.
The next steps in the hiring process will include a review of recorded statements from the finalists on July 7 and virtual interviews on July 21 and 22, the city said.
The city received 63 applications for the position of city manager. A recruiting firm hired by the city narrowed that field to nine, from which the council selected the five finalists.
Las Cruces has not had a permanent city manager since the resignation of Stuart Ed in April 2019. The city council declined to select a new city manager from a previous group of five finalists – Gregory Martin is the only current finalist who also made that list – and so the selection process began again.
David Maestas is the current interim city manager.
The city manager is the city council’s only employee. His or her duties, as specified on the city website (www.las-cruces.org) are “recommending and implementing the policy direction approved by the mayor and city council, governed by the city charter; administration of city services and programs through effective leadership and management; appointing and/or dismissing all department heads; and other such duties as may be required by ordinance or resolution of the city council.”
“Managers have tough jobs,” Mayor Ken Miyagishima said earlier this year, noting that the average stay of a Las Cruces city manager during the last two decades has been about three years. Miyagishima is helping choose his ninth City of Las Cruces or Doña Ana County manager. He is in his 13th year as mayor and served six years as a city council before that and eight years prior to that as a county commissioner, including service as commission chair.