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New Mexico: County prepares to take back Cornell jail.
Five finalists named for jail administrator

By Jane Moorman
New-Bulletin Staff Written
November 20, 2004

Valencia County is moving forward with taking over the management of the adult detention center on Jan. 1 with interviews for jail administrator on Friday, and offering positions to Cornell's staff. It is also soliciting proposals for a food service contract.

"We had 31 applicants for the administrator position," said County Manager Mike Trujillo of the candidates who responded to statewide advertisements and postings on a national Web site for correctional organizations. "The selection committee interviewed five finalists."

Of the 31 applicants, eight were from out-of-state, including Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Florida. Among the five finalists were applicants from Nebraska and Florida.

Finalists were Lawrence Barreras of Los Lunas, A. Brian Culp of Belen, Paul Haberling of Los Lunas, Michael Pavicic of Ft. Myers, Fla., and Ronald White of Gering, Neb.

"Mr. Pavicic was unsuccessful in making travel arrangements due to the Thanksgiving holiday rush, so the selection committee conducted a phone interview," said Jacque Chavira, county human resource director.

Pavicic retired from the Cuyahota County Sheriff Department in 2002 after 25 years. He began as a correctional officer and rose through the ranks to become warden in 1995.

After retiring in 1994 from security police in the Air Force, White became a safety officer with corrections. Since 1997, he has served as director of Scott Bluff County Corrections in Nebraska.

Culp joined the New Mexico Corrections Department in 1982 after working in law enforcement and corrections in New Jersey for nine years. Since arriving in New Mexico, Culp has moved up through the ranks and has served as associate warden and deputy warden before becoming deputy director for adult prisons in Santa Fe.

Haberling is currently an assistant warden with Cornell Corrections. He entered correctional administration in 2000 after having been an administrator at various Job Corps Centers in New Mexico.

Barreras currently is a correction consultant. Prior to retiring from corrections departments he was warden for Cornell, warden for the New Mexico Penitentiary in Santa Fe, senior warden, division manager and director of New Mexico's juvenile justice division.

During the Valencia County Commission meeting on Wednesday, Trujillo said that he wants to make an offer for the jail administrator position before Christmas.

It was suggested by Commissioner Mary Andersen that the commission change the position from an at-will to classified.

"I think this would be prudent," Andersen said. "The job is hard enough without having to worry about being fired by a new commission."

Commissioner Paul Trujillo agreed saying as a classified employee, the commission will not have authority over that position. An at-will employee serves at the pleasure of the commission while a classified employee is under the supervision of the county manager.

The four commissioners who were present Andersen, Trujillo, Al Padilla and Chairman Gary Daves directed the county manager to present a request at the next commission meeting to publish the changes in the personnel ordinance that could establish the classified position.

The county manager said the administration will offer positions to 40 current Cornell employees once background checks are completed.

Michael Steininger, the county's business manager, said all 55 positions currently at the adult detention center will be replaced.

"We have had 40 of the current Cornell employees apply for positions," Steininger said.

During action items in the meeting, the commission approved publishing requests for proposals (RFP) for the detention center's food services.

Steininger said the county had several options on how to provide the services to the inmates.

"We can either do it ourselves, attach to a state contract for contracted food services or go out with our own RFP," he said.

"By soliciting RFPs we will be able to explore the different options and see which is best."

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