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The governing board of the Valles Caldera Preserve held its last meeting of the year Thursday and most likely the final meeting for several trustees whose terms are ending early next year.
Valles Caldera Trust Chair William Kelleher of Albuquerque announced that Gary Bratcher had been hired to fill the vacant post of executive director. Bratcher, an Artesia native, served as economic development secretary under former Gov. Gary Johnson from 1995-1998 and then was appointed to a vacancy on the New Mexico Lottery Authority.
Kelleher said Bratcher has a strong business background. He accepted the offer Tuesday and will be arriving to begin work Jan. 5.
Bratcher will be the fourth executive director since the Trust began in 2001. His predecessor Jeff Cross resigned in May after two years on the job, expressing frustration with the churn of board members and staff.
That has continued even as a key communication and marketing position remains unfilled for another year.
Retired Forest Service administrator Lucia Sandoval Turner has served as acting executive director since June and Kelleher said she would stay on to assist Bratcher with the complex federal rules and regulations the preserve must obey.
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