Alamogordo Approves A New City Manager Rick Holden


Tuesday’s Alamogordo City Commission meeting was a full agenda of discussions on weed abatement and demolitions of more blighted properties.  Several were on the 3 page agenda for discussion to include one on New York Avenue near 1st Street. The commission approved the actions requested by code enforcement to include Alamogordo City Commissioner District 5, Sharon McDonald’s, “fight on blight” in the historic Chihuahuita neighborhood. 

The most impactful decision, long term, on Alamogordo from the meeting was the approval, and a vote of 7 to 0, authorizing the city attorney to draft an employment contract for a new city manager selected by the commission; Rick Holden.

Mr Holden has a long career in city services and leadership having worked for several years in a variety of roles for the city of Cleburne Texas. 

Holden worked several stints with the city serving as the city’s health department director, public works administrative assistant and in other roles and ultimately as a robust advocate and city manager.

Cleburne Texas is similar to Alamogordo in size with about 31,000 people. Press coverage of his tenure at Cleburne and thoughts of his performance referenced in a variety of press reports in the Cleburne Times Review reflect positively of his career and his leadership. ”Rick was always very energetic in his pursuit of trying to do what he thought was best for the city and the residents and in working with others to get that done,” Cleburne Councilman John Warren said in one newspaper article in reference to Mr. Holden

Rick’s done an incredible job and brought exemplary leadership to the city,” said another source. 

Upon retiring from Cleburne Mr. Holden assisted the small Texas town of Alvarado as an interim city manager and eventually a permanent city manager. 

Alamogordo has been on the hunt for a city manger for a few months and had the position posted in a variety of mediums. The hiring of a new city manager and one outside of the traditional pool of local and in-house candidates is a bold move for the city of Alamogordo and outside of the more recent norms. 

City Manager Brian Cesar announced his retirement May 11, 2023 after 25 years as a city employee. The position was posted open for applicants soon after. City staffer Stephanie Hernandez has serves as interim city manager in the absence of Cesar. 

After affirmative vote for Mr. Holden for city manager; mayor Susan Payne invited him up to the podium to make a very brief remark. Bouncing with enthusiasm and  a huge smile he thanked the staff, commissioners and the community for the opportunity. He said, “in listening to tonight’s commission meeting I’m already feeling at home.” He explained he already has his housing accommodations worked out, has had conversations with Ms. Hernandez on a list of projects and priorities and is eager to get started. and congratulates Mr. Holden on his appointment. We also are encouraged by the commission selection of a candidate that exudes confidence, positivity and a passion. We look forward to working together and an open dialogue to move the city forward. 

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