Doña Ana County



Interim Doña Ana County Clerk J. Joe Martinez has announced the resignation of Interim Chief Deputy Clerk Bernice Bowden and the appointment of Don Manzanares to the position.

Bowden resigned citing health reasons, and her resignation took effect just prior to the Christmas holiday. Martinez said he appreciated Bowden’s service and commitment, especially during the November General Election. He announced Manzanares had stepped into the position of interim chief deputy clerk effective Monday, Dec. 30, 2002.

Manzanares has been the southern New Mexico field coordinator for Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R.-N.M.) since 1987. A New Mexico native, Manzanares is a graduate of Tularosa High School, and he holds two bachelor’s degrees – in government and municipal planning – from New Mexico State University.

Manzanares said he looks forward to the challenge of serving as Martinez’s chief deputy.

“As far back as 1985, when I worked for the NMSU Extension service, I have had a strong interest in county government,” Manzanares said. “At that time, I was privileged to research and write a manual detailing the obligations and responsibilities of county elected officials, including county clerks. Ever since then, I have had a strong belief that local government is an often overlooked but powerful tool for advancing community causes. I view this opportunity to serve with Joe Martinez as a natural extension of my interest in local government matters.”

Martinez said he is eager to have Manzanares on board to help run the office and to prepare for the upcoming February school bond election.

“Bernice Bowden did a spectacular job for the residents of Doña Ana County, and we owe her a debt of gratitude for that,” Martinez said. “Now that health issues have arisen for Bernice, I had to choose someone familiar with how government works and committed to service at the highest level. Don Manzanares is the perfect fit for this job at this time, and I’m delighted that he has accepted this appointment.”

Martinez and Manzanares will serve in their respective capacities pending the outcome of the criminal trials of suspended County Clerk Ruben Ceballos and his chief deputy clerk, Aurelio Enriquez. Once those trials are completed, Ceballos and Enriquez will either be reinstated, or the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners will appoint a permanent county clerk to serve out the remainder of Ceballos’ term. Martinez has indicated that he will not be a candidate for the permanent position if it becomes available.

For more information, call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7229.