Magdalena Hires

The Magdalena Board of Trustees recently approved the hiring of Jan Keenly as Village Clerk/Treasurer and Carlos Valenzuela to fill a Deputy Marshal position. Pictured at Village Hall (from left): Keenly, Mayor Richard “ZW” Rumpf, Valenzuela, and Marshal Michael Zamora.

With the departure in April of Stephanie Finch as Magdalena’s clerk/treasurer, the Village Board of Trustees has been advertising for a suitable replacement. That search came to an end at the May 13 board meeting, when the trustees approved the appointment of Magdalena resident Jan Keenly as the village’s clerk/treasurer. In nominating Keenly, Mayor Richard “ZW” Rumpf said she comes to the job with all the right qualifications.

“She’s been living here about eight years and has been working at the school,” Rumpf said. Keenly is known by many as a teacher’s aide in Magdalena, having worked at the high school, middle school and elementary school.

“She was looking for a better job in accounting, which is one of the major things we need for treasurer and clerk,” he said.

Keenly, who has an extensive background in business administration, said she is eager to take on the position.

“I’m excited about working with a great staff,” she said. “I’m really impressed that they held down the fort after the clerk left. It shows what kind of professionals they are.”

Keenly officially began as clerk/treasurer on May 28.

In other business, Rita Y. Martinez, a graduate student at the University of New Mexico gave a preview of the community Needs Assessment project she had been working on over the last four years.

“A big reason for doing this project is to reach people who, for some reason, can’t get to the village board meetings,” Martinez said. “I originally started doing research on the water crisis in 2013, and it grew into an overall Needs Assessment.”

Her findings outline the community’s strengths as well as areas of weaknesses, categorized as Problems, Strengths, Barriers and Solutions.

“My methodology was both quantitative and qualitative,” she said. “That is, demographic numbers, and then interviews with residents.”

She said her research involved six phases; project planning, methodology design, data collection, analysis, reporting and dissemination, as well as qualitative sand and quantitative methods.

“Some of the problem areas are lack of jobs, vacant buildings, failing infrastructure and poverty,” Martinez said. “But the village is not without its strengths. People take pride in the ranching culture, arts and crafts, the rural community environment and a strong volunteer core.”

Although the document is not a formal component of the village government, Trustee Lynda Middleton said the information gathered would be valuable for prioritizing future improvements.

“These types of assessments can normally cost anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 to have done,” Middleton said. “She did an outstanding job. The meat and potatoes of that report is well beyond our expectations.”

The compete assessment findings were approved by the village board at its May 28 meeting.

A copy of the Needs Assessment will be on file at the library and Village Hall.

In other action in May:

• The board approved the hiring of Carlos Valenzuela as Deputy Marshal. Marshal Michael Zamora said Valenzuela is a skilled law enforcement officer with several years of experience with the Socorro Police Department, where he had attained the rank of sergeant.

• The board approved an agreement with the County of Socorro to improve sections of two streets in the village. In the agreement, which the county’s Board of Commissioners also approved, the county will provide chip sealing of South Main Street and South Chestnut Street. The Village will be supplying chips and oil and the county’s road department will coordinate with the village before the work is done. The road department will layout base course and chip seal with double and single pins. In return, the Village will compensate the county in the amount of an estimated $19,690.60.

• The board voted to enter into the local government road fund program, a cooperative agreement with the New Mexico department of Transportation, to chip seal North Chestnut, North Spruce and North Elm streets and Kelly Road. The cost of the project will be $45,360. Magdalena’s proportional matching share will be 25 percent of the total, or $11,340.

• The board approved an updated job description for the Librarian/Museum Director position. The part-time position will be open when the current librarian, Yvonne Magener, leaves at the end of the month.

• The board gave its approval for the installation of a volleyball court at the rodeo grounds. Rumpf added that the entire project would be accomplished by volunteers.