Santa Fe’s deputy city manager leaving

October 13, 2018

The deputy city manager has left the building. And there won’t be a replacement.

Renée Martínez, 55, who had occupied the controversial role since it was created in 2016, will resign at the end of this month, city officials announced Friday.

Her departure will lighten the load at the top of the city’s organizational heap: The deputy city manager position, a $135,000-a-year post that rankled some critics of City Hall who viewed it as an unnecessary and expensive addition to the management corps, will be mothballed after Martínez steps down.

Both Mayor Alan Webber and City Manager Erik Litzenberg had said the deputy position was likely to be excised in a planned reshuffle of the city’s organizational chart.

Under the city’s amended charter, Webber is a full-time mayor, and he has taken a more active role in day-to-day operations. He also earns $110,000 in salary — more than triple what his predecessor, Javier Gonzales, earned as mayor. Litzenberg earns $155,000 in salary; his annual pay is scheduled to rise to $170,000 next year.

Various mayoral candidates in the election earlier this year highlighted the deputy city manager role as excessive and indicative of a top-heavy city administration.

The prospective consolidation of the role left Martínez, a Santa Fe native and Stanford graduate, in the lurch. City officials announced Friday she has accepted a new position as a deputy in the city of Albuquerque’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services.

Martínez was out of town Friday and unavailable for comment.

Her work in implementing a new timekeeping system and emphasis on results-based accountability was praised in statements issued by both Webber and Litzenberg. In a portion of her resignation letter released by the city, Martínez said she had enjoyed her tenure. Martínez began work at City Hall in 2014.

Before her elevation to the deputy city manager position, she had served as the city’s information technology director.

“Her work at the city often focused on some of our most important challenges, from technology to modernizing processes to building a results-based approach into everything we do,” Litzenberg said in a statement. “The forward-thinking mentality she brought is something we’re working to instill citywide.”

The deputy city manager reported to the city manager and oversaw several city divisions and departments, including the affordable housing, economic development , constituent services and the Office of Emergency Management. The heads of those departments now report directly to Litzenberg.

Martínez also was the project manager of the city’s multimillion-dollar enterprise resource and planning project, an overhaul of the city’s software intended to automate and streamline many municipal functions.

City spokesman Matt Ross did not immediately respond to a question about who would take over leadership of the project.

Martínez came under scrutiny earlier this year when she requested, and former City Manager Brian Snyder approved, a suite of 10 percent and 15 percent temporary pay raises for select city employees working on the software upgrade. The $400,000 package of raises was not made public or presented to city councilors, who criticized the quiet arrangements.

After The New Mexican revealed the plan to issue the raises, Webber initially expressed support for them but later requested Snyder’s resignation amid escalating discontent over the controversy, citing a 1990s-era human resources policy flagged by City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler.

The deputy city manager position was created by Snyder in 2016 with an initial salary of $130,000. That was only a year after the city faced a $15 million deficit and was forced to cut staff and increase fees. Critics at the time contended the role was another layer of bureaucracy, though Snyder defended it as a step toward efficiency.

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