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County officials earn certificates from The NM EDGE County College program

SANTA FE, N.M. - Twenty-one county officials from across New Mexico received either the designation of certified public supervisor or certified public official from The NM EDGE's County College program during the New Mexico Association of Counties legislative conference in Santa Fe in January.



Twenty-one county officials from across New Mexico received either the designation of certified public supervisor or certified public official from The NM EDGE's County College program during the New Mexico Association of Counties legislative conference in Santa Fe in January. Receiving certificates were, front from left, Shannon Chaidez, CPO, from McKinley County; Connie Harrison, CPO, from Curry County; Carol Bowman-Muskett, CPO, and Josie Alonzo, CPS, from McKinley County; Diane Irwin, CPO, from Sandoval County; Sharon C. Torres-Garcia, CPO, from Curry County; and Melissa Martinez, CPS, McKinley County. Back row are Diane Michele Prindeville, NM EDGE academic director; Mary DeLorenzo, NM EDGE program director; Jon Boren, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service director; Sarah Merklein, CPO and NMAC president from Catron County; Rene Lopez, CPS, from Lea County; Rayetta Trujillo, CPS, from Colfax County; Larry DeYapp, CPS, from Rio Arriba County; Kiki Arellano, CPS, San Miguel County; David F. Trujillo, CPO, from Rio Arriba County; Annette Ortiz, Nick Sedillo and Tracy Sedillo, all CPS, and Greg Richard, CPO, from Torrance County; Hugo Cano, CPO, from McKinley County; and Mary Ann Anaya, CPO, from Torrance County. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

The NM EDGE, which stands for Education Designed to Generate Excellence in the public sector, is a program administered by New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. County College was developed in collaboration with the New Mexico Association of Counties.

Encouraging better government through education is the purpose of The NM EDGE, which follows the guidelines of the National Certified Public Manager Consortium. The program is working with public official associations around the state to develop certification programs.

"Interest in our program continues to grow," said Mary DeLorenzo, program director for New Mexico EDGE. "We have welcomed many newly elected officials as new students into the County College program. Clearly these individuals and their counties recognize the value of investing in the continuing education of county employees and that they will gain the return on their investment back in their county."

Nine individuals joined the ranks of certified public supervisor by completing 28 three-hour required classes for the designation. Recipients were Larry DeYapp of Rio Arriba County, Rayetta Trujillo of Colfax County, Rene Lopez of Lea County, Josie Alonzo and Melissa Martinez of McKinley County, Kiki Arellano of San Miguel County, and Annette Ortiz, Nick Sedillo and Tracy Sedillo of Torrance County.

Twelve individuals joined the ranks of certified public officials. Since the beginning of County College in 2002, 79 county employees have completed the 18 three-hour classes to earn this designation. Recipients in January were Sarah Merklein of Catron County, Connie Harrison of Curry County, Shannon Chaidez, Carol Bowman-Muskett and Hugo Cano of McKinley County, David Trujillo of Rio Arriba County, Sharon C. Torres, Martha Aragon and Diane Irwin of Sandoval County, Erie Wright of Santa Fe County, and Greg Richard and Mary Ann Anaya of Torrance County.

County College began in 2002 as a dream of the late Sam Montoya, the executive director of the New Mexico Association of Counties, who asked New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service to develop an educational program for New Mexico's county officials and employees. Classes based on the certified public manager model were first delivered in late 2008.

The NMSU Department of Government became a regular partner in County College in 2008 and introduced the nationally accredited certified public manager program. Curriculum committees to fully develop core programs and some affiliate-specific educational programs were established. Awarding of NMSU Continuing Education Units for County College courses was also started in 2008.

NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service convened the first meeting of the New Mexico Certified Public Manager Advisory Board in January 2010. The board has representatives from state, municipal, county and federal government departments and agencies.

The NM EDGE seeks the board's input on its accreditation process for the CPM program with the National Certified Public Manager Consortium. The board also advises The NM EDGE on reaching a broader audience than county officials and employees.