Help Wanted: March 1982
Position: Mayor of Santa Fe
Qualifications: City resident
Hours: 30 hours per week, minimum
Salary: $101 per week
Imagine it is 1982, and time to select a candidate for Santa Fe’s part-time mayor. If a newspaper ran a classified ad for the job, this is how it might read. Would you want it? Doubtful.
Yet such are the actual facts of the job, according to Santa Fe’s present mayor, Art Trujillo, who announced last month, after just one year in office, that he will not run for a second term. The workload has increased to almost full-time, with sometimes 14 hours a day spent on city business, and as many as 30 individual conferences a week with citizens, he said.
“I don’t think people can expect an individual with a family to take on the job as it is now—$5,300 per year— when you’re spending 60 to 70 percent of your time,” Trujillo protested.
“That just doesn’t equate.”
Trujillo’s current feelings about Santa Fe’s need for a full-time mayor contrast sharply with his views just a year ago, when he was campaigning for the job. In that mayoral race, Trujillo’s opponent, Herman Grace, sounded the call for a full-time mayor as one of his campaign issues—only to have Trujillo pooh-pooh the idea. “It’s not even feasible as an issue in this campaign,” Trujillo said at the time. “I don’t know if Herman is serious about this.”
But one year’s worth of on-the-job experience now has Trujillo singing a different tune. To the surprise of a Santa Fe Press Club audience last month, he announced that the city should be making plans for its very next mayor—to be elected in 1982—to come into office as a full-time, full-salaried official.
What’s more, Trujillo elaborated in a recent interview, he intends to appoint a committee to study the feasibility of the plan, along with all the complications with New Mexico’s home-rule laws that the city of Santa Fe would have to face if it decided to put the proposal before the voters in time for the 1982 elections.
As far as Trujillo is concerned, the idea is one whose time has come. “I’m suggesting that in 1982 the city should consider a full-time mayor,” he reemphasized, “and a system [of government] like Albuquerque’s.”
If carried out, Trujillo’s suggestion would make Santa Fe the only city in the state besides Albuquerque to have a full-time mayor and a form of government where the mayor is armed with a veto, and has equal power with the city council. Moreover, Santa Fe would become something of a rarity throughout the Southwest. In Colorado, for example, only Denver has a full-time mayor.