Doña Ana County



By David R. King
Doña Ana County Manager

I am proud to announce that Doña Ana County received the 2002 New Mexico Character Counts! Award for Leadership at an Oct. 18 luncheon sponsored by the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and Albuquerque Character Counts!.
Janise Syling, assistant to the Las Cruces city manager, nominated the county to compete in the Organizational Leadership category, which comprised nominees from throughout New Mexico. Other nominees in the category were Albuquerque Public Schools Homeless-Migrant Program, Kirtland Air Force Base Family Support Center, Portales School District and United Way of Central New Mexico.

In reviewing the nomination packet sent to the county as a courtesy by Ms. Syling, I was grateful once again for the collaborative and cooperative spirit of teamwork that Doña Ana County enjoys with its biggest city, as well as with our partners in the Village of Hatch, the Town of Mesilla, the City of Sunland Park, New Mexico State University, White Sands Missile Range, Las Cruces Public Schools and a host of private and semi-public organizations, entities and action groups. Working together, we seek to embody the pillars of character that the Character Counts! program strives to promote nationwide.

Criteria by which we and the other nominees were judged were: demonstration of efforts to further the Character Counts! Cause; evidence of support of the Character Counts! Concepts; awareness of Character Counts! in the community; and community involvement and leadership.

In her letter of nomination, Syling wrote that the county “wholeheartedly” supports the ideals of Character Counts!, represented by the Six Pillars of trustworthiness, responsibility, caring, fairness, respect and citizenship.

She wrote the Board of County Commissioners and county management and staff should “be applauded and recognized for their efforts in establishing within the workplace that character matters.”

“It’s refreshing and encouraging to see public service emphasizing the Six Pillars of character in the work they perform for their neighbors, friends and constituents,” Syling wrote.

Syling noted the county’s role in producing the Sept. 11, 2002, event, We Remember: A Celebration of Unity, as well as proclaiming the week of Sept. 6-12 as American Character Counts! Week at a pre-event press conference.
Albuquerque Character Counts! Chairman Ed O’Leary said the county’s award nomination packet sent by Syling was impressive.

In a statement released by the Albuquerque Character Counts!, O’Leary said, “While each nomination included examples of caring, trustworthiness, citizenship, respect, responsibility, and fairness, one nomination stood out as an example of how an organization incorporated Character Counts! and the six pillars into their very being. Doña Ana County formally integrated Character Counts! into the basic structure when determining strategic goals and objectives.”

BOCC Chairman D. Kent Evans said he is gratified the county was selected as this year’s Character Counts! organizational award recipient. Congresswoman Heather Wilson and O’Leary presented the award to Grant Taylor, the county’s assistant spokesman, who attended the luncheon on behalf of Chairman Evans and myself.

Grant reported back to us that members of other nominated organizations and the Albuquerque Greater Chamber of Commerce attended the luncheon, which featured speeches by Wilson and Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez.

The county’s ongoing community outreach to lift up young people and instill in them a sense of worth was underscored by another event that also occurred on Oct. 18: The county officially opened its art exhibit featuring works created by staff and students of the Las Cruces Public Schools District. One prominent piece hanging over the main entry to the County Manager’s Complex features students’ interpretation of the Six Pillars Character Counts!. The county is appreciative of the collaboration with LCPS, which is also a Character Counts! partner. The official opening offered refreshments and featured live music, performed by a LCPS jazz quartet.

We at Doña Ana County are proud to have been recognized as statewide leaders in the Character Counts! initiative, and we’re even more proud to continue our collaboration with our partners in progress – young and old, corporate and civic – in our ongoing efforts to make Doña Ana County one of the best and most progressive places in the state to call home.