Mayor cites Donica Sharpe's experience as key

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BLOOMFIELD — Bloomfield city officials reached into the city's past Monday night with their choice of a new city manager.

Mayor Cynthia Atencio cited the experience Donica Sharpe will bring to the table when she announced during Monday's City Council meeting that Sharpe has been hired as Bloomfield's city manager.

Sharpe has worked for the city since 2012 and served as the Bloomfield planning and zoning director. She previously was the Geographic Information Systems manager for the Southern Ute Tribe. She also has experience in water rights and budgeting.

Sharpe filled the same position on an interim basis about three years ago. The position reopened last week when former City Manager Eric Strahl resigned.

“Because of her background, she’ll be getting the same hourly rate as the previous city manager, but will require no benefits,” Councilor Ken Hare said. “So that is a significant savings to the city moving forward.”

The city is only required to provide benefits to full-time employees. The city hired Sharpe as a part-time employee to save money. Sharpe was not at the City Council meeting and could not be reached for comment.

Strahl, who was a full-time employee, was paid $100,000 a year. That translates to approximately $48 an hour.

Strahl resigned last week, citing a difference of opinion between himself and the newly elected mayor and city councilors about the direction the city is taking on some issues. During the campaign, the newly elected mayor and councilors criticized decisions by the city's elected officials to spend money on lawsuits during an economic downturn.

Hare said Bloomfield likely will continue hiring people who already work for the city to fill vacant leadership positions.

“It makes a lot of sense for the city to grow our own internally,” he said.

He said the city will select certain department heads to form an internal leadership team.

“We felt that it was really important to hire someone local with lots of experience that’s lived here a very long time, and they know the city, they know the county,” Hare said. “And we think it’s a win for the city of Bloomfield.”

Councilor Matt Pennington praised Sharpe’s previous work with the city, including her interaction with department heads.

“She works not only well for the city but all the department heads all love her,” he said.

Bloomfield has also appointed Dorothy Nobis as interim city clerk. City Clerk Erikka Martinez resigned in late March. Nobis has been serving as deputy city clerk.

Hare said the city is lucky to have someone currently on its staff that can fill the role.

“Sometimes you get lucky, and we think we’re in a lucky period,” he said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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