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City Announces New Faces Joining Administration Leadership Team

HR Director, Policy Team, Deputy for Economic Development to support City priorities.

Feb. 22, 2021

The City of Albuquerque today announced four new hires—including a new Human Resources (HR) Director, two attorneys with extensive experience in public policy and social equity, and a new Deputy Director in Economic Development.

“This team reflects our deep commitment to making sure everyone in Albuquerque has access to real opportunity and a community that treats them with dignity and respect. These four leadership hires will play key roles in pursuing our goals for equity, inclusion, and economic growth,” said Mayor Keller.

Anthony Romero, the new HR Director, has been a Deputy Director at the City’s Department of Senior Affairs since 2014 and brings more than 20 years of experience at City Hall to the job. Romero studied Human Resource Management at the University of New Mexico, and will help the administration tackle issues around staffing, pay equity, and hiring goals at the Albuquerque Police Department, among other things.

“The City is already one of Albuquerque’s biggest employers—and now we’re dedicated to making sure we’re also one of the best. From filling critical public safety positions to offering opportunity to our workforce, I’m excited to bring my 20 years at City Hall to bear to meet our human resource goals across every department,” Romero said.

Damian Lara, a local attorney with extensive experience in policy, taxation, and real estate was named Deputy Director of the City’s Economic Development Department.

Lara’s position will focus on streamlining policy pertaining to the City’s COVID-19 recovery efforts, with an emphasis on supporting small businesses, advancing pay equity, and removing barriers to development, investment, and recruitment.

Since earning his juris doctorate at the University of New Mexico School of Law, Lara has legislation drafter at the State Legislature, Deputy Assessor at Bernalillo County Assessor’s Office, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and in private practice with the Calderon Law Firm. His background includes legislative efforts involving industrial revenue bonds (IRBs), the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA), and tax increment financing – tools commonly used to attract development.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity and excited to work with the mayor to help the city,” Lara said. “I’ll be troubleshooting projects and ensuring development incentives result in a positive return for taxpayers. Most immediately, I’ll be focusing on providing direct assistance to our local businesses and individuals left out of stimulus packages to advance the community’s economic recovery.”

Paul Haidle, an attorney with experience leading and organizing advocacy campaigns at the local, state and national level, was named the Deputy Policy Director in the Legal Department. Prior to joining the City, Haidle served as the senior policy strategist at the ACLU of New Mexico, where he led public safety advocacy.

Haidle received his juris doctorate from Chicago-Kent College of Law and has significant experience addressing housing, employment, licensing and other barriers faced by people with criminal legal system involvement. He also served as a representative of United States Senator Martin Heinrich, where he focused on improving access to healthcare for veterans in rural areas. As deputy director he will work closely with constituents and community agencies to shape priorities that positively impact the residents of Albuquerque, and will be heavily involved in community outreach to ensure the City’s advocacy outcomes are effectively identified and achieved.

“This administration has demonstrated its commitment to protecting the most vulnerable amongst us,” said Haidle. “I’m humbled to be selected for this position and look forward to continuing to work with community members and organizations to make Albuquerque a welcoming, safe, and just place for all.”

Jazmín Irazoqui-Ruiz is a new Managing Assistant City Attorney of Policy in the Legal Department. She was previously the Economic Justice Staff Attorney at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center, where she started her work as a Corinne Wolfe Fellow for Transformative Advocacy.

Irazoqui-Ruiz received her Bachelor of Business Administration from the UNM Anderson School of Management and graduated from the UNM School of Law in 2017. She started the Economic Justice Program, in collaboration with the NM Dream Team, which focuses on immigrant entrepreneurship, the tax implications of owning a small business, and the resulting immigration issues.

“I am excited to join Mayor Keller’s administration to further his vision by working on policies that make our city safe, inclusive, and full of opportunity,” Irazoqui-Ruiz said.