Highlights of LLA Session 3: Local Government

Eli Argo of the Los Alamos Teen Center makes a public comment during a “fictitious council” exercise. Photo by Kateri Morris

County Director Steven Lynne discusses the history, organization and structure of the county. Photo by Kateri Morris

LLA news:

The Leadership of Los Alamos (LLA) class of 2022 met on December 10 for its third session, exploring the structure and function of Los Alamos County government.

Los Alamos County Deputy Director Linda Matteson led and coordinated the session filled with discussions with elected officials, appointed board members and senior county officials, as well as several exercises.

The LLA class participated in a public consultation exercise where they approached the podium in the council chamber to address an important issue for the county council to consider, as they would in a real meeting advice. They addressed local issues and issues such as the need for affordable housing, safe bike paths, more gym / recreation space; renovating unused buildings and improving art in public places, golf; and the possibility of creating a recreation center for middle school students and the Historic District Advisory Council. Residents are encouraged to view council and council meetings online on the county’s website.

County Director Steven Lynne gave LLA attendees an overview of county government by presenting its history, features, structure, demographics and budget. He described his role as county manager and his philosophy of personal leadership, the services the county provides to the public and the current issues they are grappling with. Lynne concluded with a few tips for future leaders: push, have persistence, have patience, be grateful, and breathe.

County Director of Utilities Philo Shelton provided an overview of his department’s goals, objectives and strategic initiatives. He said they strive to demonstrate the highest level of excellence in meeting quality standards. Shelton described how the DPU uses data, available knowledge, performance measurement systems and performance review to identify opportunities for learning and innovation. He also explained the leadership model and the systematic processes needed to achieve their goals.

Midway through the day, a panel of key county managers and leaders gathered to discuss the challenges and joys of working for a local government. The panel included: Jordan Garcia, DPU Power Systems Supervisor, County Clerk Naomi Maestas, Deputy County Director Anne Laurent, Human Resources Management Ty Ryburn and Deputy County Prosecutor Katie Thwaits.

Topics covered at the roundtable included recruitment and retention of human resources, lessons learned from the pandemic, modification of services, construction and availability of housing, and some confidentiality and donation clauses, etc.

Having served as a County Councilor for the past four years, Sara Scott explained to the LLA class how citizens can get involved and participate in local government. For herself, staying engaged and listening to what community members have to say is the best tool for her as a counselor. Scott explained that the best way for citizens to participate is to engage as much as possible with staff and County Council and use them as a resource; be an informed voter; serve on boards, commissions, task forces and subcommittees, or serve as an elected official; or just learn, ask and share.

County Budget Manager Monther Jubran concluded the local government session with an overview of the county budget and discussed some guiding policies, spending power and limits, the county’s financial structure and the objective of each fund by department and division. He also described how the budget is approved after a series of discussions and deliberation. The LLA class was tasked with developing a process on how they would spend $ 1 million from the general fund. Each group presented their ideas.

About Leadership Los Alamos:

Leadership Los Alamos is a non-profit organization whose mission is to identify current and emerging leaders in Los Alamos and the surrounding communities, in order to enhance their leadership skills and deepen their knowledge of challenges and opportunities. facing the community.

Each class learns about a variety of subjects such as community organizations, culture and history, youth, education, local government, economic development, and environmental issues. For more information, click on here.

DPU Manager Philo Shelton discusses the goals, initiatives and processes of DPU. Photo by Kateri Morris

Left Panel Discussion, Deputy Director Linda Matteson, DPU Power Systems Supervisor Jordan Garcia, County Clerk Naomi Maestas, Deputy County Director Anne Laurent, Director of Human Resources Ty Ryburn and Deputy County Attorney Katie Thwaits. Photo by Kateri Morris

County Councilor

Sara Scott discusses effective ways to participate in government. Photo by Kateri Morris

Deputy County Director Linda Matteson leads LLA participants in a trivia game. Photo by Kateri Morris

County Budget Manager Monther Jubran gives an overview of the county budget. Photo by Kateri Morris

The LLA class of 2022 gathers around the county Christmas tree at the municipal building. Photo by Kateri Morris