City of Sunland Park hires city manager
SUNLAND PARK, N.M. — The City of Sunland Park approved a contract Tuesday night with a new city manager filling a the position that had been vacant for more than a year.
In a split vote, city council approved a 3-year $80,000 annual contract with Vernon Wilson, the current Dona Ana County International Jetport director.
"I think this is a good opportunity for me as well as the City of Sunland Park," Wilson said.
The city manager position had been vacant since February of 2012 requiring Mayor Javier Perea to assume those responsibilities.
Perea said he will be able to focus solely on his mayoral duties when Wilson begins work in early January.
The hire will also allow the city to regain control of their own finances after the Department of Finance Administration had been running the city's money since the fraud scandal first began.
Local Government Division Director Wayne Sowell said the hire is critical to move the city forward.
"In the last 14 months the city has been unable to hire a city manager so this was the linch pin," Sowell said.
He also warned council they would look at any possible legal options if the city failed to make a hire during Tuesday's meeting.
The city attorney said via telephone legal action could include a takeover of the entire city even resulting in the removal of council.
But now with a manager set to takeover, a finance director and procurement officer will be the next hires in allowing the city to regain administrative control of their finances.
"I believe it's a positive step and I do hope the citizens take this as a step forward for the city," said Mayor Javier Perea.
Wilson said even with the city's troubled past, the city manager job is a challenge that he's up for.
"I just want everyone to know the City of Sunland Park is open for business," Wilson said.