Mr. Rick Holden Takes the Helm as Commission Met To Discuss Crime


Alamogordo’s new city manger, Rick Holden, took the helm today as city commissioners convened and heard input and held discussions around city ordinances proposed by Mayor Susan Payne and staff to address the recent crime wave and a possible curfew during school hours around students in public parks. Mr. Holden hit the ground running adding valuable information and dialogue into the discussion. 

The discussions were held with public input at city hall commission chambers at 830.  The decision was made to further strengthen the wording for legal compliance thus the consideration was tabled until a new in January 2024 after more legalese was added to strengthen the proposals. 

Specific to Mr. Holden, on September 14th 2023 and streaming KRAZY KALH Radio reported that the city had approved the city attorney to move forward with an official offer letter and contact for a new city manager. 

During that September Commission Meeting 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 served 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 today he begins work. A press release from the city of Alamogordo was posted introducing Mr Holden to the community on his first day of work…

The City of Alamogordo is thrilled to announce the new City Manager, Mr. Rick Holden.

Mr. Holden comes to Alamogordo with an impressive background, having served in various roles in City Government and private public utilities. His journey, from a police officer to City Manager, reflects a wealth of experience, including stints in the United States Air Force, Fort Worth health department, and major natural gas companies.

Alamogordo has always been on Mr. Holden's radar, thanks to his family's mountain retreat in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. His familiarity with the area, combined with a love for the mountains, made him eager to take on the role of City Manager when the opportunity arose in Summer 2023.

Alamogordo struck Mr. Holden with its commercial layout reminiscent of Cleburne, Texas, and the breathtaking mountain scenery. He emphasizes the importance of Holloman Air Force Base to the local economy and applauds the welcoming nature of the community.

Mr. Holden envisions a future for Alamogordo that focuses on beautification, education, and attracting tourists. He sees vast opportunities to showcase the enchanting features of New Mexico and wants to collaborate with the community to make these visions a reality.

During his recent visit, to the Alameda Park Zoo, Mr. Holden was impressed, recognizing it as a remarkable asset for the city. He plansto be a visible and accessible City Manager, fostering strong relationships with employees, citizens, and key stakeholders.

Collaboration is key, and he emphasizes the importance of partnerships with the Center of Commerce, Holloman Air Force Base Alamogordo Public Schools, and Otero County.

Already, Mr. Holden has attended joint meetings to strengthen collaboration between the City Commission and Otero County Commission. He commends this initiative as a positive step towards working together, combining resources, and addressing common interests.

Welcome Mr. Holden expectations are high and you are jumping into office when lots of questions concerning the management and operations of city business is top of mind to many locals. The closing of the Fun Center, spikes in crime and city infrastructure are all on the minds of residents this week. The community is eager to hear your thoughts and to see a positive impact of your leadership. Good luck! 

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