The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By David Grieder
Staff writer 

Water Utility Authority executive director candidates down to two


PORTALES — A new executive director for the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority draws ever closer, as the board meets this afternoon to continue discussions with two candidates out of an initial pool of about 30.

In a closed-door executive session scheduled for 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. today in Portales, the board “will be continuing conversations with a couple of candidates,” Clovis Mayor and ENMWUA Chair David Lansford said Thursday.

Those candidates are Orlando Ortega and Jason Burns, he said.

Burns has been Carlsbad’s city projects engineer for the past three years and grew up in Clovis, he wrote in his application for the job.

Ortega is executive director of the Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation and served two four-year terms as Portales’ mayor from 2002-2010, according to his application.

No action will be taken on selecting a new executive director outside of a public meeting announced in advance, which Lansford said could happen as early as the week of March 19 or into April.

The board could also continue to receive applications for the position vacated Oct. 1 when Justin Howalt left to become Clovis’ city manager.

“I’ve been hesitant to call anything a final round because it’s never final until there’s a public meeting and we take action,” Lansford said. “It would appear that way and it probably is that way, but again there’s just never been a comfort level with saying this is the final two.”

The salary for the position is based on qualifications, officials have said. Howalt made $110,000 annually in the job.

Other upcoming agenda items likely to be discussed at the next yet-to-be-scheduled public ENMWUA meeting:

n appointing a member from the board to serve on Clovis’ Request For Information Committee,

n an engineering explanation on pipe sizing

n and discussion to advertise by the end of next month for bids on the Fixed Water 2 pipeline section connecting Clovis with Cannon Air Force Base, Lansford said.


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