As the city of Santa Fe prepares for transition with the departure of two-term mayor Mayor David Coss and the swearing in of newly-elected Mayor Javier Gonzales scheduled for Monday, the first city department head has announced his retirement.
Police Chief Ray Rael, appointed by Coss in March 2011, said today that he'll leave the position next week. While the city manager selects department heads under the current governance structure, the mayor has a big say in who gets the jobs.
“I would like to sincerely thank all of the members of my department whose hard work often goes unnoticed; Thank you Mayor Coss, my two city managers and the community for your continued faith and support,” Chief Raymond Rael wrote in a press release. “I am proud of what we’ve accomplished and know that continued teamwork will only further the department’s success.”
The announcement also says Gonzales will work with City Manager Brian Snyder to name an interim police chief right away. Next, Gonzales says he plans to assemble a team to help establish an application process and select a city manager for his administration. Synder, who took on the job after Robert Romero resigned last summer, will stay in the post in the meantime.
Rael took the reins of the department after former Chief Aric Wheeler stepped down to return to a captain position. Coss praised Rael for strategies that he says improved public safety.
“Property crimes in our city have dropped to record lows and Santa Fe is the safest it’s been in years,” the announcement quotes Coss as saying. He also noted that under Rael's leadership the department has filled all its vacancies and cleared backlogs of internal affairs investigations.
City records show that during Rael’s tenure, overall burglaries dropped 20 percent to the lowest rate since 1992, when the department began collecting such statistics.