S.F. deputy city man­ager leav­ing

Job won’t be filled af­ter she steps down

Santa Fe New Mexican - - FRONT PAGE - By Tripp Stel­nicki tstel­nicki@sfnewmex­i­can.com

The deputy city man­ager has left the build­ing. And there won’t be a re­place­ment.

Renée Martínez, 55, who had oc­cu­pied the con­tro­ver­sial role since it was cre­ated in 2016, will re­sign at the end of this month, city of­fi­cials an­nounced Fri­day.

Her de­par­ture will lighten the load at the top of the city’s or­ga­ni­za­tional heap: The deputy city man­ager po­si­tion, a $135,000-a-year post that ran­kled some crit­ics of City Hall who viewed it as an un­nec­es­sary and ex­pen­sive ad­di­tion to the man­age­ment corps, will be moth­balled af­ter Martínez steps down.

Both Mayor Alan Web­ber and City Man­ager Erik Litzen­berg had said the deputy po­si­tion was likely to be ex­cised in a planned reshuf­fle of the city’s or­ga­ni­za­tional chart.

Un­der the city’s amended char­ter, Web­ber is a full-time mayor, and he has taken a more ac­tive role in day-to-day op­er­a­tions. He also earns $110,000 in salary — more than triple what his pre­de­ces­sor, Javier Gon­za­les, earned as mayor. Litzen­berg earns $155,000 in salary; his an­nual pay is sched­uled to rise to $170,000 next year.

Var­i­ous may­oral can­di­dates in the elec­tion ear­lier this year high­lighted the deputy city man­ager role as ex­ces­sive and in­dica­tive of a top-heavy city ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The prospec­tive con­sol­i­da­tion of the role left Martínez, a Santa Fe na­tive and Stan­ford grad­u­ate, in the lurch. City

of­fi­cials an­nounced Fri­day she has ac­cepted a new po­si­tion as a deputy in the city of Al­bu­querque’s De­part­ment of Fi­nance and Ad­min­is­tra­tive Ser­vices.

Martínez was out of town Fri­day and un­avail­able for com­ment.

Her work in im­ple­ment­ing a new time­keep­ing sys­tem and em­pha­sis on results-based ac­count­abil­ity was praised in state­ments is­sued by both Web­ber and Litzen­berg. In a por­tion of her res­ig­na­tion let­ter re­leased by the city, Martínez said she had en­joyed her ten­ure. Martínez be­gan work at City Hall in 2014.

Be­fore her el­e­va­tion to the deputy city man­ager po­si­tion, she had served as the city’s in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy di­rec­tor.

“Her work at the city of­ten fo­cused on some of our most im­por­tant chal­lenges, from tech­nol­ogy to mod­ern­iz­ing pro­cesses to build­ing a results-based ap­proach into ev­ery­thing we do,” Litzen­berg said in a state­ment. “The for­ward-think­ing men­tal­ity she brought is some­thing we’re work­ing to in­still city­wide.”

The deputy city man­ager re­ported to the city man­ager and over­saw sev­eral city di­vi­sions and de­part­ments, in­clud­ing the af­ford­able hous­ing, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, con­stituent ser­vices and the Of­fice of Emer­gency Man­age­ment. The heads of those de­part­ments now re­port di­rectly to Litzen­berg.

Martínez also was the project man­ager of the city’s mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar en­ter­prise re­source and plan­ning project, an over­haul of the city’s soft­ware in­tended to au­to­mate and stream­line many mu­nic­i­pal func­tions.

City spokesman Matt Ross did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a ques­tion about who would take over lead­er­ship of the project.

Martínez came un­der scru­tiny ear­lier this year when she re­quested, and for­mer City Man­ager Brian Sny­der ap­proved, a suite of 10 per­cent and 15 per­cent tem­po­rary pay raises for se­lect city em­ploy­ees work­ing on the soft­ware up­grade. The $400,000 pack­age of raises was not made pub­lic or pre­sented to city coun­cilors, who crit­i­cized the quiet ar­range­ments.

Af­ter The New Mex­i­can re­vealed the plan to is­sue the raises, Web­ber ini­tially ex­pressed sup­port for them but later re­quested Sny­der’s res­ig­na­tion amid es­ca­lat­ing dis­con­tent over the con­tro­versy, cit­ing a 1990s-era hu­man re­sources pol­icy flagged by City Coun­cilor JoAnne Vigil Cop­pler.

The deputy city man­ager po­si­tion was cre­ated by Sny­der in 2016 with an ini­tial salary of $130,000. That was only a year af­ter the city faced a $15 mil­lion deficit and was forced to cut staff and in­crease fees. Crit­ics at the time con­tended the role was an­other layer of bu­reau­cracy, though Sny­der de­fended it as a step to­ward ef­fi­ciency.

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