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December 22, 2020
City Takes Big Steps in Ongoing Reorganization

Announcing City Clerk/Director of Public Engagement and

Acting Director of Community Health and Safety

December 22, 2020-SANTA FE, NM -- As a key piece of Mayor Alan Webber’s agenda to streamline City government to be more efficient and responsive, in 2020 the Governing Body approved a reorganization of City government that groups a number of departments in three umbrella offices: Community Development, Community Health and Safety, and Community Engagement.

Today the City announces the appointment of Kristine Bustos-Mihelcic as the City Clerk/Director of the Office of Public Engagement and the acting appointment of Kyra Ochoa as the Director of the Community Health and Safety Department. City Clerk Yolanda Vigil completes her term of service on Dec. 31, 2020. The Mayor’s appointment of the new City Clerk will go before the Governing Body at a special meeting to be called for January 4, 2021.

These appointments further streamline City leadership by filling two existing positions with a single director. Bustos-Mihelcic will serve as City Clerk, leading both Community Engagement and Constituent and Council Services. Ochoa will lead both Community Health and Safety and Community Services. Richard Brown also wears two hats as head of Community Development, which includes Economic Development.

The Office of Public Engagement represents a combination of the City Clerk’s Office and the Constituent and Council Services Department. In 2018, voters approved a Charter amendment for opting in to the Local Election Act, resulting in City elections being removed from the Clerk’s portfolio of duties and turned over to the Santa Fe County Clerk. The job of the City Clerk includes matters such as records preservation, public meeting administration, and liquor license applications and permits. Bringing these two offices together will turn the City Clerk’s office into the “front door” of City government, providing a more consistent and effective way for Santa Fe residents to communicate with the City and raise concerns, access data and information, and participate in the business of the City. It will improve transparency and access, provide better data for decision making, enhance responsiveness to resident concerns, and provide a venue for new and creative ways for the City government and residents to connect.

“Mrs. Bustos-Mihelcic has already demonstrated an aptitude for using technology to enhance community outreach and transparency, and I expect we’ll see more of that in her work as City Clerk,” Mayor Webber said.

Since 2018, Kristine Bustos-Mihelcic has served as the first-ever Constituent and Council Services Director. She is a Santa Fe High School graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication, with an emphasis in Public Relations, and a minor in Journalism from Eastern New Mexico University. She was previously the Communications Coordinator and spokeswoman for Santa Fe County. Throughout her career she has worked to modernize government to reflect transparency and accountability, by identifying tools to streamline processes and improve communication with residents. A Santa Fe native, she is passionate about raising her three young children in the community where she grew up. The Office of Public Engagement position requires approval by the Governing Body; City Clerk is one of three positions appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council. Upon the Governing Body’s approval of a proposed employment contract that would last through the end of the Mayor’s term, Mrs. Bustos-Mihelcic will earn a salary of $115,000.

Creating a new Office of Community Health and Safety fosters a healthier and safer Santa Fe by bringing Police, Fire, Community Services, Recreation, and Emergency Management under a shared structure. This will enable Santa Fe to engage in an ongoing process of assessing the proper roles of police and fire personnel; finding ways to integrate health policy and public safety; exploring opportunities to address the social determinants of health to improve lives and reduce the need for more expensive services downstream. The Community Health and Safety Department’s mission is to provide all people in Santa Fe with a safe, healthy environment in which to live and work, and to visit.

Mayor Alan Webber says: “Across the country, people are engaged in deep and thoughtful conversations about how to address policing, justice, racism, social inequities, and the need to invest more in the needs of under-resourced people in the community. This reorganization and these appointments are important steps toward addressing those concerns in 2021, a year of healing for the City of Santa Fe.”

Kyra Ochoa has been the Director of the Community Services Department for the City of Santa Fe since October of 2018. Before that, she managed the Health Care Assistance Program for Santa Fe County, where she launched CONNECT, a program that links at-risk residents with professional navigators who help resolve social and economic barriers to health and wellbeing. That program has been critical in providing relief money and services to thousands of City residents during the pandemic. She holds a Master in Public Health (MPH) degree from New Mexico State University, with a focus on Health Management, Administration, and Policy. Throughout her career, she has built broad stakeholder engagement and mobilized human and fiscal resources for maximum impact in diverse communities in Albuquerque, Taos, and Santa Fe. She was raised in Taos and Santa Fe and is grateful to be raising her family here in the City of Santa Fe. Ochoa will take on the new role effective date – Saturday, Dec. 26 – at the budgeted salary of $132,000.

 
 

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