New Mexico

County commission to consider big raises for elected officials

BERNALILLO COUNTY, NM - Newly elected Bernalillo County officials could soon be getting big pay hikes that would be the first raises for those positions in over a decade.

The county commission on Tuesday will vote on $71,553 in raises for five officials whose terms start in the new year.

"I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think the budget could support it," Bernalillo County Commission Chair Steven Michael Quezada said.

The employees qualified for the wage hike are Debbie O'Malley and Charlene Pyskoty, who just won their county commission races this week. They could be making $39,106, nearly $10,000 more than their fellow commissioners.

Just re-elected County Assessor Tanya Giddings would see a $21,000 bump in pay.

The biggest bump would go to re-elected Sheriff Manny Gonzales. A $22,000 raise would push his salary up to $90,338.

"He has deputies who are getting paid more than he is," County Commissioner Debbie O'Malley said.

This means that Commissioner O'Malley, whose second term starts in the new year, will be voting for her own pay raise.

"People are saying, 'Well that's kind of weird,' and I have to agree but that's the way the law is," she explained. "There is no other way to address that issue and there should be a way for us to do that and that's the only way we can."

That law she's referring to is a state statute that says it is legal for all county commissions statewide to vote for increases for their county's elected officials.

Click here to read the full state statute

If the vote passes, Bernalillo County elected officials who are in the middle of their term would be eligible for their pay raises in January 2021 if they win the next election.

The state legislature sets salary limits for elected county officials. These pay hikes would push Bernalillo County's salaries to the maximum allowed.


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