The Española City Council, during its March 29 meeting, unanimously ratified Mayor Javier Sanchez’s choice for city manager. David Valdez, of Colorado City, Colo., moved into the position Monday.
Valdez, his wife Tina and five children are in the process of moving to Española. She attended the meeting with their newborn in tow.
“I appreciate the opportunity,” he said at the meeting. “I’ve met some great people and I look forward to the challenge.”
City Councilor Dennis Salazar said he was concerned about the city’s inability to hire and keep a good city manager.
“I’m not happy about the longevity of past city managers,” Salazar said. “It’s a revolving door. We need a city manger who wants to stay.”
Valdez said he has a history of loyalty. He worked for Colorado City for 19 years, the last 10 as city manager.
Former interim city manager Xavier Martinez told the council later he would work to alleviate the jarring change in city hall leadership.
“Every time a new city manager comes in everyone in city hall has to hit rewind and work with the new city manager,” he said. “I will bridge that gap and work with Mr. Valdez so that doesn’t happen. We need to maintain longevity and have less turnaround.”
City Councilor John Ricci said Valdez’s selection was one of the best the city has made.
“This selection process was very open,” he said. “There were a lot of people involved in the process.”
Valdez was chosen from three finalists. Martinez and longtime state employee Rick Lopez, of Santa Fe, were also considered. However, Lopez’s resume was not included in two different records requests sent to the city. It is unclear if Lopez went through the same process as the other 19 applicants.
When told there was a lot of work to be done Valdez said he was ready, whether in his office or out in the field.
City Councilor Peggy Martinez told Valdez he’ll have the council’s support.
“This council is the least political city council we’ve had,” she said. “There’s a lot of passion and energy here and you’ll have our support.”
A recurring theme throughout the meeting with City Councilor Justin Salazar-Torres was the city’s comprehensive plan. He asked Valdez if he had seen it. Valdez said he had not reviewed it thoroughly, but had seen it and scanned it.
Valdez began work Monday. Xavier Martinez returned to his position as director of community services.
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