The Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners selected Third Judicial District Judge Fernando Macias as the new manager for the county on Tuesday.
The commissioners emerged from closed session close to 10 a.m. to announce their selection. Macias will become county manager on January 7, 2018. His 4-year contract will have a $160,000 annual salary.
Macias previously served as county manager from 1997 to 2000.
"I just wanted to thank the commission for the opportunity," said interim County Manager Chuck McMahon. "I look forward to working with Judge Macias. I care deeply about this county."
Commissioner Billy Garrett, representing District 1, called the selection a "solid move."
"He has a lot of experience in government in New Mexico," Garrett said. "He understands this county from a variety of different perspectives. Of course, he was in the private sector, and was a legislator, has been a judge. He's somebody who understands many things about this community and brings a lot of skills."
Last Tuesday, chairwoman Isabella Solis told ABC-7 that commissioners had chosen a finalist, but chose not to publicly announce their decision at the time.
Commissioners voted 4-1 to fire former county manager, Julia Brown, in April, seven months after her contract was renewed. Brown's attorney recently sent a letter to the County Clerk asking that Brown's New Mexico Whistleblower Protection Act claim be resolved.
"He understands that we've been through a rocky period," Garrett said. "Having somebody who is knowledgeable, but is new, will be a real help to this process."
In late September, the county had narrowed down the search to six finalists:
- William Christensen, County Manager of Kittson County, Minnesota
- Eric Enriquez, Las Cruces Fire Chief
- Fernando Macias, Third Judicial District Judge
- Chuck McMahon, Interim Doña Ana County Manager
- Gerald Mecca, self-employed financial advisor in Pittsford, New York
- Scott Sensanbaugher, Assistant Director of the City of El Paso’s Capital Improvement Department