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SFR Talk: Straight Shooter

November 8, 2006, 12:00 am

SFR: What is the correct pronunciation of your name?
AK: Uh-see-nith. It's an Old Testament name. It's been in my father's family tree for 300 years.

You were city attorney under former mayor Debbie Jaramillo. What made you come back as city manager under David Coss?
I missed it. I really missed it. There's nothing like it. If you are cut out for it, you will never find anything that will satisfy you like public service does.

Even when you have to deal with the City Council?
Even when I have to deal with the City Council.

How's that going, by the way? I know you've clashed with a number of city councilors.
It's going fine. You know, it's a very close-knit situation over there, and it's like getting used to new family members. We all have to either get reacquainted or get acquainted for the first time, and sometimes it's rough in the beginning, but it has settled down. Democracy is a tricky area for everybody involved. It takes a lot of energy and discipline, and thoughtfulness and forgiveness and, most importantly, a big sense of humor.

Which City Council member has the best sense of humor?
Patti Bushee, without question-whom I've known for many years.

The council requested a job performance review regarding your position. Will that be made public?
It happened behind closed doors in an executive session. And I'm still here. Everybody had an opportunity, I think, to summarize past and present observations of what the expectations of the city manager are. I found it very helpful, actually.

How have things gotten out so of control between the city and county, especially regarding the proposed hike in gross receipts taxes?
I don't think they've gotten out of control. I have renewed faith that we're going to be able to work better together since Roman Abeyta went back to the county as county manager. Actually, I have good relationships with most of the staff members at the county. I have learned that sometimes communications aren't as strong as they should be. We end up hearing each other's sound bites rather than understanding the full message. And so there's been some distrust, but I think both entities have great potential to work together over time.

We've written a number of stories on problems with the city's sewer system. What can be done about citizens feeling that they're not being treated fairly by the city when a sewer line breaks?
I know that the city attorney answered this with regard to the legalities, and I know there has been concern by our councilors that perhaps the Tort Claims Act that covers sewage breaks needs to be revisited through legislation on the state level. Santa Fe is a very old city, and our infrastructure is always going to need maintenance and repair over time. The job that we have through the Public Works Department is to look and see where we can make those changes given the resources that we have.

What's your assessment of the previous administration?
You know, there are two kinds of administrations: passive and active. I would characterize the past eight years as being more passive than active. And this one is very active. And so what we're trying to do is stay ahead of the curve and be proactive rather than reactive. But in order to get to that point, we have to look back and see what wasn't taken care of.

Which city departments are you auditing right now to make sure they're operating properly?
We have a general audit that our external auditors do of various places throughout the city, but I've asked for the Water Budget Office to be audited. That's actually being overseen by the City Attorney's Office. I've asked for an audit of Planning and Land Use. I've asked for an audit of the Chavez Center, and I've asked for an audit of the Municipal Recreation Complex.

When can we expect these audits to be finished?
As soon as the auditors finish them. I ask that question a lot because I'm a very impatient women, but I don't have them yet, not in final form.

What does the city manager do in her spare time?
I shoot.

You shoot!
I go shooting. Target shooting. I've been shooting since I was 10. I like the fact that it requires tremendous discipline and concentration. I have a 357 Magnum.

Do you have your gun on you right now?


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