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NMSU's NM EDGE graduates 34 county officials from its County College

SANTA FE, NM - The first New Mexico Certified Advocate for Public Ethics designation was bestowed upon a public servant at a recent ceremony honoring 34 graduates in the NM EDGE Certified Public Manager and County College programs.


large group of people in different colored shirts
Thirty-four public officials received designations from NM EDGE County College and Certified Public Manager programs during a ceremony held in Santa Fe in conjunction with the Legislative Conference of the New Mexico Association of Counties. Individuals involved in the ceremony included, front row from left, Barbara Urioste-Lopez, NM EDGE; Mary DeLorenzo, NM EDGE; Josie Alonzo, McKinley County; Melissa Martinez, McKinley County; Tim Spinks, McKinley County; and Susan Griffin, Catron County. Second row are Erle Wright, Santa Fe County; Angela Castillo, Grant County; Alisha Esquivel, Grant County; Sandi Spencer, San Juan County; Gemma Ferguson, Eddy County; and Marc Legarreta, NM EDGE. Third row are Jon Boren, NMSU Extension director; Maria DeAguero, Rio Arriba County; Dianne Maes, Sandoval County; Pearl Russell, McKinley County; Cynthia Stephenson, NMAC; Isabelle Purcella, Bernalillo County; Deanna Bouillon, Curry County; Dan Zolnier, Valencia County; and Julian Barraza, Valencia County. Fourth row are Lorina Sanchez, Santa Fe County; Gabriella Trujillo, Santa Fe County; Benigno Castillo, Chaves County; Jeannette Spriggs, Curry County; Candace Morrison, Curry County; Amanda Hargis, Santa Fe County; and Teresa Bookout, Otero County. Back row are Robert Martinez, Santa Fe County; Joanne Hethcox, Luna County; Deborah Leyba-Dominguez, Santa Fe County; Grisel Melendez, Luna County; Geraldine Salazar, Santa Fe County; Glory Johnson, Luna County; Priscilla Bustos, San Miguel County; and Les Francisco, Santa Fe County.

Graduation took place in Santa Fe on Jan. 17 in conjunction with the Legislative Conference of the New Mexico Association of Counties.

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.

Erle Wright, Santa Fe County data integration administrator, adds the CAPE designation to his Certified Public Supervisor and New Mexico Certified GIS Specialist designations.

"The most enjoyable and enlightening component of the NM EDGE classes is the interaction with, and discussions among, peers working in the variety of local government offices throughout the state," Wright said. "The CPM program has broadened my perspective of the role of public service and what individuals can do personally to achieve positive effects in their work environment."

The NM EDGE also graduated its first New Mexico Certified Professional Risk Manager, Tim Spinks of McKinley County. He also holds the New Mexico Certified Public Official and New Mexico Certified Public Supervisor designations.

This year McKinley County employees Josie Alonzo, senior deputy treasurer, and Melissa Martinez, operations support specialist, completed the highest level in the CPM program - Certified Public Manager. They are the fifth and sixth graduates at this level in NM EDGE's history.

To earn the CPM designation the graduates completed more than 300 hours of work comprised of classes, practical application of knowledge and a project specifically beneficial to their employer.

An additional 29 public employees earned the designation of New Mexico Certified Public Official, while three earned the designation of New Mexico Certified Geographic Information Service Specialists.

Originally established in 2003 as County College, a mutually beneficial project between the Extension Service and the New Mexico Association of Counties, the program has evolved and expanded into the NM EDGE under the leadership and guidance of Jon Boren, associate dean and director of the Cooperative Extension Service, and Paul Gutierrez, executive director of the New Mexico Association of Counties.

"We are proud and happy to see our vision for this program continuing to grow," Boren said following the graduation. "Current students in the newly expanded program are from all 33 county governments, several municipalities and various state agencies. To date we have 168 graduates who represent 27 counties."

Gutierrez echoed the sentiment and added, "Working together for the betterment of government throughout New Mexico has proven to be beneficial for our county members and for our organization. We are especially proud to be the founding partner with the Extension Service in this incredibly valuable program."

The NM EDGE CPM program received national accreditation in October 2011 from the National Certified Public Manager Consortium, which allows the NM EDGE to bestow the designation on qualified candidates.

The certified public official designation, the first level in the CPM program, was awarded to Isabelle Purcella, Bernalillo County chief deputy treasurer; Susan Griffin, Catron County assessor; Lt. Benigno Carrillo, Chaves County adult detention center; Deanna Bouillon, Curry County juvenile justice coordinator and assistant DWI coordinator; Candace Morrison, Curry County assessor; and Jeannette Spriggs, Curry County chief deputy appraiser.

Also Terri Barraza, Dona Ana County treasurer's office operations supervisor; Gemma Ferguson, Eddy County chief deputy assessor; Glory Johnson, Luna County assistant to the county manager and special project supervisor; Joanna Hethcox, Luna County budget and procurement director; Grisel Melendez, Luna County accounts payable specialist and indigent health care coordinator; and Pearl Russell, McKinley County deputy treasurer.

And Teresa Bookout, Otero County administrative assistant; Maria DeAguero, Rio Arriba County detention center case manager; Priscilla Bustos, San Miguel County solid waste billing clerk; Dianne Maes, Sandoval County deputy director of county development; Deborah Leyba-Dominguez, Santa Fe County public works department administrator; Les Francisco, Santa Fe County solid waste superintendent; Amanda Hargis, Santa Fe County GIS coordinator; Robert Martinez, Santa Fe County transportation and solid waste division director; Geraldine Salazar, Santa Fe County clerk; Lorina Sanchez, Santa Fe County public works department administrative assistant; Gabriella Trujillo, Santa Fe County public works department administrative manager; Julian Barraza, Valencia County IT specialist; Gerald Chavez, Valencia County IT specialist; Daniel Zolnier, Valencia County human resource director; and Cynthia Stephenson, risk management coordinator for the New Mexico Association of Counties.

Three individuals graduated from the customized certified GIS specialist curricula specifically developed for the County College. They are Angela Castillo, Grant County GIS and IT specialist; Alisha Esquivel, Grant County planning specialist; and Sandi Spencer, San Juan County GIS coordinator, who also received the Certified Public Official designation.

Additional information regarding the NM EDGE certified public manager and County College programs is available at http://nmedge.nmsu.edu.