Edgewood’s brand-new commission swept into action this week, holding two meetings totaling nine hours in total.

In that time, they approved hiring an interim town manager and interim town clerk; approved appointments to various boards; approved three zoning applications; and fired the town’s law firm.

The commission’s first action was to elect a mayor and mayor pro tem from its body. Audrey Jaramillo was elected mayor and Jerry Powers was elected mayor pro tem, who steps in and assumes the duties of the mayor if she is not available.

As mayor, Jaramillo will be the legal and ceremonial head of the town, and will chair commission meetings, she said, explaining that the main difference between the mayor-council and commission-manager format is that “the CEO is now the town manager, with executive power delegated more to the town manager, not to the mayor.”

The commission unanimously approved hiring Kay Davis as the interim town manager and Estefanie Muller as interim town clerk. Both held those positions with the town under previous administrations. “They were already experienced, already knew the town, and were already successful in their positions in the past,” Jaramillo said, adding, “I’m grateful they were both willing.”

Other open positions at the town include heavy operators and maintenance department workers and a janitorial maintenance person, Jaramillo said. She said the town would be advertising for all of the open positions, including town manager and town clerk, but added, “we’re not really to that point yet, we’re just trying to get things back on track now.”

The commission voted to reopen town offices, which were closed to the public after a Covid breakout among office staff in the fall.

The commission appointed former mayor Brad Hill, realtor Ray Seagers and Garrett Holloman to its planning and zoning commission; the entire commission resigned in the fall.

Commissioners reappointed Ralph Hill and K.R. Scott, and appointed David Bergsten to its parks and recreation committee.

Commissioners Powers and Jaramillo as alternate were appointed to serve on the Mid-Region Council of Governments board; commissioners Ken Brennan and Filandro Anaya as alternate will serve on MRCOG’s Rural Transportation Planning Organization; commissioners Sterling Donner and Powers as alternate were appointed to MRCOG’s Water Resource Board; Anaya and Donner as alternate were appointed to the board of the Estancia Valley Economic Development Association; Powers was appointed to the Estancia Basin Resource Association; and Brennan and Anaya as alternate will serve on the North Central N.M. Regional transit District board.

The commission changed its meetings to the second and fourth Tuesdays starting in February, a change from its longstanding Wednesday slot.

It approved an extensive operating resolution defining the roles and duties of the governing body.

The commission sent a “cease and desist” letter to the Robles Rael & Anaya law firm, which has been representing the town for the past several years, and issued a Request for Proposals for legal services. Proposals will be accepted until Jan. 18.

At its meeting Jan. 5, the commission unanimously approved three zoning requests, Jaramillo said.

Those were a variance request from Smith Engineering Co. for a grading and drainage variance for the town’s Appaloosa paving project; a lot line adjustment for Michael T. Flattery; and a subdivision of two lots into eight lots by Tammy Lucadamo.

The commission also held a workshop on capital projects.

That was just the beginning, Jaramillo said. “We were prevented for transitioning [from mayor-council to commission-manager] properly,” she said. Jaramillo is the only member of the current governing body to have served on the previous one. “So now we’re ready to build a strong team, focus on public service, focus on customer service. We opened town hall and all the operations and all the business.”

Asked about her priorities as she leads the new commission, Jaramillo said infrastructure funding coming down from the federal government will be very important for New Mexico, and Edgewood. “I don’t think anyone can underestimate this funding that’s going to be coming into New Mexico for infrastructure, water, broadband—those three areas will be huge. … Getting organized and getting those requests in, then to contract for the projects and actually get them implemented is going to be a big focus over the next couple of years.”