County attorney's performance rewarded

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By Carol A. Clark

A salary increase and plenty of praise were showered on County Attorney Mary McInerny at Tuesday’s County Council meeting held in Council Chambers.

Council voted 7-to-0 to approve minor adjustments to McInerny’s contract and to raise her annual salary from $128,000 to $135,000.

Council Vice Chair Robert Gibson explained that McInerny was hired in the middle of the county’s current fiscal year.

“We’ve had time to assess her great value to the county,” he said, adding that the adjustments also move to structure her contract in a manner more consistent with other county positions.

McInerny returned as the county’s top attorney after an eight-year hiatus.

“Mary, it’s good to have you back,” Councilor Jim West said. “Your accomplishments show what can take place when you have staff who are concerned with the needs of the community.”

Councilor Ken Milder told McInerny the community “is really benefiting from having you as its county attorney.”

McInerny returned at a time when the county has a large number of projects and issues in play. Council Chair Jim Hall thanked her for handling it all so well and jokingly told her, “We’ll try to keep the pressure on and give you even more opportunities to excel.”

Councilors Fran Berting and Nona Bowman also thanked and complimented McInerny for her efforts. Bowman attended the meeting via telephone.

In other business, council unanimously approved a revised Capital Improvement Program (CIP) project development process. The revisions are a result of a request last year by council for staff to improve the process.

Staff, headed by Community Development Director Rick Bohn, briefed council on the proposed improvements during discussions of the long range financial plan in December and again during the budget hearing in April.

Council also voted 7-to-0 to approve another project led by Bohn to rezone 34.06 acres of land, located at lot 1-B of the Sunrise Mesa Subdivision, known as airport basin from a F-L (Federal Lands District) zone to a P-L (Public Land District) zone effective next month.

“To rezone a property, the existing zoning must be shown to be inappropriate for one or more of the following reasons,” Bohn explained. “It was established in error, changed conditions warrant the rezoning, or, a different zone is more likely to meet goals contained in the Comprehensive Plan, and this meets all three.”

Bohn and his staff were praised by council for their efforts and final product on both the CIP and the rezoning projects.

Council unanimously approved the following items under a single motion:

  • A $6,000 per year lease of land to T-Mobile West for an antenna collocation and facilities site;

• the award for the Estante Way and Potrillo Lift Station Replacement project in the amount of $326,623 to Paul Parker Construction;

• the award for the Pueblo Canyon Interceptor and Rover Boulevard Sewer Replacement project in the amount of $727,647 to AUI Inc.; and

• the approval of $1.5 million in funding allocations for FY 2009 as a continuation of the county’s Progress Through Partnering Initiative.

A student delegation from the City of Sarov, Russia, which is the Sister City to Los Alamos attended Tuesday’s meeting. Council presented them with a proclamation.

Council also proclaimed July 19 as “The Next Big Idea Day” in Los Alamos County.

Council has scheduled a special meeting for 7 p.m. Friday in Council Chambers to address the notice of appeal from a decision of the Planning and Zoning Board on the Airport Basin Site Plan, which the county received Tuesday.

The appeal was filed by William Arland III, on behalf of Cabot, Cabot & Forbes Los Alamos Investment Company, LLC, and relates to concerns regarding a proposed fueling station to be located adjacent to the company’s property on East Gate Drive.

The meeting is open to the public.