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Ten county officials receive certified public official designation from NMSU's County College

LAS CRUCES Ten county officials from across New Mexico received their certified public official designation from New Mexico State University's County College during the New Mexico Association of Counties annual conference in June in Hobbs, N.M.



Recipients of the New Mexico Association of Counties/New Mexico State University County College certified public official designation were presented at the annual association of counties' conference in June in Hobbs, N.M. Front row, from left, are Bernice Baker, Curry County treasurer; Laurie Pettigrew, DeBaca County clerk; and Judy Pressett, Eddy County deed analyst. Back row, from left, are Rick Palochak, McKinley County bureau of election director; Tim Spinks, McKinley County risk management administrator; Adam Gallegos, Guadalupe County clerk; Connie Stone, Lincoln County information technology director; and Jon Boren, NMSU's associate dean and director of the Cooperative Extension Service. Not pictured are Yvonne Bartz, Lincoln County election clerk; Jessica Madrid, Rio Arriba county human resource director; and Bidal Candelaria. (NMSU Photo)

To earn the designation, the individual had to complete at least 18, three-hour classes in fields such as knowing your government, management, human resources and more. The classes are offered through the County College, a joint program of NMSU and the county association.

Recipients were Bernice Baker, Curry County treasurer; Laurie Pettigrew, DeBaca County clerk; Judy Presset, Eddy County deed analyst; Adam Gallegos, Guadalupe County clerk; Yvonne Bartz, Lincoln County elections clerk; Connie Stone, Lincoln County information technology director; Tim Spinks, McKinley County risk management administrator; Richard Palochak, McKinley County bureau of elections director; Bidal Candelaria, Rio Arriba County detention administrator; and Jessica Madrid, Rio Arriba County human resource director.

Better government through education is the purpose of County College. County College works through the guidelines of the National Certified Public Manager Consortium to develop certification programs and works with the affiliates of the New Mexico Association of Counties to develop affiliate-specific curricula.

County College began as a dream of the late Sam Montoya, executive director of the New Mexico Association of Counties in 2002, who asked New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service to develop an educational program for New Mexico county officials and employees. Courses used in other states and based on the certified public official model have been offered since late 2004.

In 2008, the NMSU Department of Government became a regular partner in County College and introduced the nationally accredited Certified Public Manager Program. Curriculum committees to fully develop core programs and some affilate-specific educational programs were established. Awarding of NMSU Continuing Education Units for County College courses were also started in 2008.