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Local consultant offers services to fill Jal vacancy

Hubert Quintana of the Southeast New Mexico Economic Development District offers to fill in temporarily for the city manager position in Jal. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The town of Jal is without a city manager, and a consultant with the Southeastern New Mexico Economic Development District / Council of Governments is offering to fill in until the Lea County municipality finds someone for the position.

“They are one of our member communities,” said Executive Director Dora Batista, “so we have offered to assist them.”

Hubert Quintana, who once served as Chaves County manager and executive director of the SNMEDD and is now a consultant with the economic development group, based in Roswell, has met with Jal officials to discuss serving as interim city manager and perhaps assisting with the search for a new manager.

“Basically we have offered our services in whatever they need us to do so that they don’t get behind,” Batista said.

She said the idea is that Quintana would work a day or two for Jal each week and the remainder of time with SNMEDD, especially in his work at this time serving as liaison with state legislators. The economic development group, which represents local government entities in Chaves, Lea, Otero, Eddy and Lincoln counties, would be paid for Quintana’s work on behalf of Jal should he work for the city.

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Batista added that Jal officials are also talking with other people and groups to either fill the position or hire someone on an interim basis.

Jal Mayor Cheryl Chance did not respond to calls by press time.

Former Jal city manager Bob Gallagher, a high-profile city, higher education and business leader in the state for decades, resigned in December when allegations of misconduct surfaced. He vehemently denied the allegations in a written statement.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.