Bill would give Los Alamos County officials full-time jobs, hefty pay hikes

A statue outside the Roundhouse in Santa Fe.

Heath Haussamen / NMPolitics.net

With the Senate and House both giving the OK, the bill now goes to Gov. Susana Martinez for her consideration.

Four elected officials in Los Alamos County could receive almost a tenfold increase in pay through a bill that cleared the state Legislature on Tuesday.

The sheriff, assessor, treasurer and county clerk now are part-time positions that pay $6,889 a year. The bill would allow the Los Alamos County Council to upgrade the jobs to full-time and set higher salaries.

Under the legislation, the sheriff’s pay could be raised to a maximum of $68,654 a year. The assessor, treasurer and county clerk could receive up to $65,855 annually.

Even if the Los Alamos County councilors change the jobs to full-time status, no salary increases would take effect until the first day of the term of those elected to the offices.

State senators approved the bill Tuesday in a 32-5 vote. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, had previously cleared the House of Representatives 61-0. Now it goes to Gov. Susana Martinez for her consideration.

Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Española, said he supports the bill as a way to improve government efficiency. Because Los Alamos has part-time elected officials making less than $7,000 a year, deputies have to be hired to do much of the work, said Sen. Martinez, no relation to the governor.

“This allows them to be full-time employees and be paid full-time salaries,” he said.

Los Alamos, a city and a county, is home to well-paying federal jobs that make it one of the most affluent communities in the country. It has a population of about 18,000. It is the smallest county in New Mexico geographically, at 109 square miles.

Contact Milan Simonich at (505) 986-3080 or [email protected]. Follow his Ringside Seat column at santafenewmexican.com.

This BBSNews article was syndicated from NMPolitics.net, and written by Heath Haussamen. Read the original article here.