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County officials earn certificates from NMSU's County College

FARMINGTON, N.M. - Fifteen county officials from across New Mexico received their certified public official designations from New Mexico State University's County College during the New Mexico Association of Counties' annual conference in Farmington in June.


"With today's recipients, 67 New Mexico Association of Counties members have earned their certified public official designation," said Mary DeLorenzo, program director for the New Mexico Public Service Education Center at NMSU, which conducts the County College program.

"We continue to hear the commitment from students to continue their pursuit of education by taking classes toward the certified public supervisor and certified public manager designations, as well as affiliate certifications. The individuals we are recognizing today have taken the initial step toward these goals. This professional education pays off for the individuals, their employers, and the public."

Among those honored during the conference's closing banquet were Judy Pressett of Eddy County, Jann Gartman of Lea County and Tim Spinks of McKinley County, who are the first students to complete 28 required classes for a certified public supervisor designation.

To earn the certified public official designation, the individuals had to complete at least 18 three-hour classes such as knowing your government, management, human resources and more through the County College, a joint program of NMSU and the New Mexico Association of Counties.

Certified public official designation recipients were Julian Barela and Diana Martina of Bernalillo County; Mary Ann Sedillo of Grant County; Rene Lopez of Lea County; Jackie Powell of Lincoln County; Marty Martinez and Joaquin Valdez of Los Alamos County; Josie Alonzo, Edward Becenti and Sarah Ortiz of McKinley County; Roberta Hanneman of Otero County; Kiki Arellano of San Miguel County; Rudy Benavidez of Sandoval County; and Annette Ortiz and Nick Sedillo of Torrance County.

Encouraging better government through education is the purpose of the New Mexico Public Service Education Center. The center follows the guidelines of the National Certified Public Manager Consortium and is working with public official associations to develop certification programs.

County College began in 2002 as a dream of the late Sam Montoya, the executive director of the New Mexico Association of Counties, who asked New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service to develop an educational program for New Mexico's county officials and employees. Courses based on the certified public manger model used in other states where first delivered in late 2004.

County College is working with affiliates of the New Mexico Association of Counties to develop affiliate-specific curricula. To date, specific curriculum for each of following has been developed: county commissioners, county clerks, treasurers, public assessment officers, county health care officials, county GIS offices and county Cooperative Extension Service personnel.

In 2008, the NMSU Department of Government became a regular partner in County College and introduced the nationally accredited certified public manager program. Curriculum committees to fully develop core programs and some affiliate-specific educational programs were established. Awarding of NMSU Continuing Education Units for County College courses was also started in 2008.

NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service convened the first meeting of the New Mexico Public Service Education Center advisory board in January. The board will advise NMSU on its accreditation process for the CPM program with the National Certified Public Manager Consortium and advise NMSU on reaching a broader audience than county officials and employees. The board has representatives from state, municipal, county, and federal government departments and agencies.