Sandoval County, New Mexico

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Transparency Grade
Budget N
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials P
Administrative Officials
Permits, zoning
Audits N
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Contracts N
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Lobbying N
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Public records N
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Local taxes P
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Transparency grading process

Sandoval County is one of 33 counties in New Mexico. The population is 131,561.[1] The county seat is Bernalillo. It is part of the Albuquerque, New Mexico Metropolitan Statistical Area.

On February 20, 2004, Sandoval County became the second jurisdiction in the United States (after San Francisco) to issue a marriage license to two women. The county clerk, noting that the New Mexico law defining marriage does not mention gender, said she feared a lawsuit if she refused to issue such marriage licenses.

Website evaluation

The good

  • Meeting agendas, notices, and minutes are posted online.[2]
  • Contact information for elected officials is available, but term information for each official is not posted.[3]
  • Contact information for administrative officials is posted.[4]
  • Zoning information and building permits are available.[5]
  • Current bids and proposals are posted, but rules are not available.[6]
  • Taxes can be paid online, but tax rates are not posted.[7]

The bad

  • No county audits, credit card receipts, or checkbook register information available online.
  • No information on vendors and government contracts.
  • Current budget is not posted. The posted budget is for 2009-2010.[8]


Pat Morlen, one of the original Albuquerque Tea Party attended the July 15, 2010 meeting and asked that the county begin live casting their meetings.[9] Morlen set up her own video equipment and live casted the plea and the rest of the meeting.


Current budget information is not available, but the 2009-2010 budget was $83 million.[10]

The county commission has given permission for each department's budget to be cut by 2%.[11]

Sandoval County has recently received $2.1 million in payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) from the federal government. The funds are distributed to localities that house federal facilities such as national parks or military bases.[12]


Sandoval County has received $90,065,731 from the economic stimulus package.[13]

Type # of Awards Amount Jobs Reported
Contracts 43 $17,311,079 26.48
Grants 119 $72,754,651 123.98
Loans 0 $0 0
Total 162 $90,065,731 150.46

Public Employees

Elected Officials

The County Commission is made up of five members serving four year terms. It serves as the legislative branch of county government.[14]

First Last Position District
Orlando Lucero Vice-Chairman 1
Don Leonard Member 2
Don Chapman Member 3
Glenn Walters Member 4
Darryl Madalena Chairman 5
Douglas Wood Sheriff
Tom Garcia Assessor
Lorraine Dominguez Treasurer
Sally Padilla Clerk
Mary Kwapich Probate Judge

Administrative Officials

The County Manager is appointed by the County Commission to serve as the Chief Administrator for the county.[15] The county is currently searching for a county manager after the termination of Juan Vigil.[16]

Vigil was given a renewed two year contract in 2010 by a vote of 3-2. The County Commission voted to terminate his contract in April by a vote of 3-2. Vigil plans to sue the county for breach of contract. Some believe the firing was because of a dispute of the Intel tax bill situation in which the county eventually billed Intel $300,000. His contract read that he could only be fired with a super majority but there is a dispute about what constitutes a super majority on a five member board.[17]


See also: New Mexico state government salary

Patrick Trujillo is the new county attorney who has a four year contract worth $118,000 a year.[18]

Former County Manager Juan Vigil earned $120,000 a year while receiving a pension from a previous job.[19]


See also: New Mexico public pensions

Pension information is not available.


See also: New Mexico government sector lobbying

Sandoval County pays for services of the lobbying firm Alcade & Fay.[20] The county has paid $400,000 on lobbying since 2004 including $20,000 in 2011.[21]

Year Amount
2011 $20,000
2010 $80,000
2009 $40,000
2008 $80,000
2007 $60,000
2006 $40,000
2005 $40,000
2004 $40,000
Total $400,000

Transparency & public records

Transparency and public records are not noted on the website. The county has accepted the proposal from Research & Polling for consulting work on the redistricting process.[22]


The county raises revenue through property taxes. Property taxes can be paid online here (timed out).

Intel reportedly owes a tax bill of $300,000 in 2010 although only $60,000 will go directly to county coffers.[23]

External links