.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Mary McInerny returns to county's top legal post

-A A +A
By Carol A. Clark

Bright and early Monday morning County Attorney Mary McInerny was back at the post she vacated some seven years ago when the Los Alamos County Council appointed her county administrator. McInerny replaces Peter Dwyer who served as top attorney between 2005-2007.“I really enjoyed working with the county and I look forward to going back,” McInerny said during an interview Saturday evening. “Many people at the county have remained my friends, they’ve been supportive of me and happy to have me come back. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”McInerny described Los Alamos County as having unusual issues not often found in other communities. “The relationship with the federal government is at times quite complicated,” she said. “And it has all of the municipality type questions but because it’s incorporated and authorized to adopt the home rule form of government, it’s a unique and challenging place to work from a professional level. It’s certainly never boring.”When McInerny first went to work at the county in February 1995, current County Administrator Max Baker was the finance director and he later moved up to administrative services. County Administrator Joe King left the end of December following the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000. McInerny replaced him because she said it would have been very hard for someone new to come in who hadn’t been through the fire. Baker became her deputy administrator as did long-time resident Fred Brueggeman.“The time was difficult but it was a rewarding job as we were recovering from the fire,” McInerny said. “I really felt county staff did a good job helping the community get back together.”Baker addressed McInerny’s return during an interview Monday. “The county is certainly looking forward to her being back,” Baker said. “She served well as county attorney before and we look forward to improving that relationship.”McInerny left the county in 2003 and worked for a time as director of the Girl Scout camp at Angel Fire. She also spent nearly a year in the legal department at Los Alamos National Bank before accepting a position with Los Alamos National Laboratory. Working as a project administrator in the Prime Contract Management Office and with the Enterprise Project, McInerny said, enhances her perspective about the laboratory. She spoke of enjoying her work at the lab because she learned new things and feels that experience will help with certain aspects of her work at the county. She also mentioned finding the work somewhat limited from what she was used to doing.“At the county there’s a large variety of things to do,” McInerny said. “As county attorney, you’re involved in where the county’s going and in all the different aspects of the county. I really like local government law and look forward to helping the county close on a lot of projects it’s been working on. And I like being part of my community and that goes with being county attorney.”McInerny spoke about the current state of the county and the job Baker is doing. “I think Max is a wonderful person and very honest,” she said. “He has earned a lot of respect around the community and I think he is what the community needs right now.”McInerny does not work for Baker but rather answers to county council. The Los Alamos County Charter states, “The county council shall appoint a county attorney for an indefinite term and fix his compensation. The county attorney shall serve at the discretion of the Council. The County Attorney shall be appointed on the basis of his administrative and professional qualifications. The county attorney shall be legal advisor to the council, the county administrator, and the county departments, boards and commissions and shall represent the county in all legal proceedings.”McInerny has two assistants, both of whom are attorneys, and two administrative staff in her office in the lower level of the Community Building, located next to the PAC 8 studio on 20th Street at Central Avenue.McInerny was born in San Antonio, Texas, and raised in Orlando, Fla. She earned her undergraduate and law degrees at Florida State University and practice law for nearly four years before moving to New Mexico.McInerny met her husband Daniel Saxton in Albuquerque. The couple has been married 26 years. They have three children including Lynn Saxton, 25, who works at the lab, Michael Saxton, 21, in his last semester at the University of New Mexico and Rosemary Saxton, 18, in her second semester at Oklahoma State University. While all three of her children were born in Santa Fe, McInerny said her family moved to Los Alamos “for the schools” in 1994.