Ruidoso targets Portales’ city manager

By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Reporter

Portales’ city manager is negotiating a contract to become the Ruidoso village manager.

Ruidoso Mayor Ray Nunley said his village council agreed at their meeting Wednesday night to let their attorney work out the contract with Debi Lee. If Lee accepts the position, Nunley said her start date is up to her.

Lee said she hasn’t finalized anything but would probably accept if the contract was as had been discussed.

It will be hard to leave, Lee said.

“I really love Portales. I really have enjoyed it here,” she said.

Lee particularly enjoyed working with Portales’ mayor, council and staff.

A Ruidoso village councilor called Lee about the job more than once, Lee said, and although she initially declined, he eventually persuaded her to come for an interview last Tuesday.

With its tourism and diversity, Ruidoso offers a different set of opportunities and challenges, she said.

She said Portales wouldn’t “miss a beat with me gone.”

Portales City Councilor Dianne Parker said she recently learned Lee had received the job offer.

“I’m very happy for her and wish her lots and lots of luck, and they’re lucky to get her because she’s a good person and a very hard worker,” Parker said.

Lee is knowledgeable about city government and will be an asset to Ruidoso as she is to Portales, Parker said.

Nunley said Lee’s experience in New Mexico, Santa Fe and Washington helped bring her to the top of a group of six or seven qualified applicants.

“We were looking for qualifications, and we were looking for someone who would continue to lead us down the path of the future, and we felt like she was the one to do that,” Nunley said.

Lee applied for the position a few weeks ago, Nunley said. Someone she knew in Ruidoso had advised her of the opening.

Ruidoso has been without a city manager since Dan Higgins resigned in February. The role has been served by Bill Morris on an interim basis.