Mid-Region Council of Governments Releases 2022 Annual Report at MRCOG Annual Event Luncheon!
Outgoing MRCOG Chair recognized as well as several exemplary employees from MRCOG, NM Workforce, and Rio Metro
The Mid-Region Council of Governments had much to celebrate at its 2022 Annual Event Luncheon at the end of September. The Autumn-themed event held at the Embassy Suites in downtown Albuquerque, was the in-person gathering for the MRCOG since before the pandemic.
Among those recognized for their dedication and service – Outgoing MRCOG Chair Debbie O’Malley who served two terms as MRCOG Chair over the past two decades. O’Malley, who is also leaving her seat as Bernalillo County Commissioner at the end of 2022, said she was grateful for the collaboration of all those with whom she worked side-by-side throughout the years to make important decisions for the region. Commissioner O’Malley – who was given a piece of Mexican pottery as a parting gift – added that she will miss her time in government but will carry in her heart the satisfaction of knowing that her efforts were a part of so many worthwhile endeavors and accomplishments in the region.
And speaking of longtime service, Albuquerque City Councilor Isaac Benton was welcomed back by all at this year’s event as he assumes the position of Chair of Rio Metro for the second time. Councilor Benton told the audience that while much had been accomplished in the area of transportation for the region under the auspices of Rio Metro… there was still much more to be done. Councilor Benton said that he was looking forward to rolling up his sleeves and working with Rio Metro staff and MRCOG Transportation staff members, as well as fellow-board members, in addressing the region’s transportation needs.
MRCOG Executive Director Dewey Cave gave the audience a snapshot of the past year and highlighted many of the key initiatives talked about in this year’s Annual Report, which most people had a copy of waiting for them at their tables.
Among some of the highlights from the Mid-Region Council of Governments from 2021-2022 – the positive growth that many oof the region’s communities experienced this past year, including 4th Street revitalization efforts and the arrival of the UNM Workforce Training Center in the Village of Los Lunas. The Town of Bernalillo saw some much-needed business development…and Bernalillo County completed several key projects, such as the Amazon Fulfillment Center.
On the Workforce side of the house, Executive Director Cave underscored the many “earn and learn” opportunities that job seekers and students have been utilizing to achieve employment success. He also talked about the one of the silver linings to the pandemic being the more than $2.5 million dollars in federal EDA funds that flowed into the region from the American Rescue Plan.
In Regional Transportation Planning, he mentioned that staff had been providing tremendous resources to member communities helping them plan and implement much-needed transportation infrastructure. And speaking of transportation, the metropolitan Planning Organization put forth a slate of projects this past year that resulted in more than $270-million dollars in federal, state, and local funds for transportation improvements to move people and goods throughout the region.
He also highlighted the fact that some extra federal dollars gave Rio Metro Regional Transit District an opportunity to increase NM Rail Runner service – which ultimately, has led to a healthier ridership that is heading back toward pre-pandemic levels. All this, as train fares remain discounted by 75% through then end of the year.
Perhaps the highlight of the event – and the thing that everyone looks forward to is the MRCOG Peer Recognition Awards. These awards are special because they are voted on by the employees themselves. This year, there were five employees recognized: two from MRCOG, two from Rio Metro, and one from Workforce.
MRCOG Maintenance Technicians Bill Panas and Clyde Gonzales shared top honors for the 2022 MRCOG Peer Recognition Award. MRCOG Executive Dewey Cave shared actual employee accounts from nomination forms that described both Bill and Clyde as “kind to everyone” …” always willing to lend a helping hand” …and “always going above and beyond” in the workplace.
Similarly, two Rio Metro employees were recognized for their over-the-top efforts on the job: Valencia County Rio Metro Driver of more than 20-years - Kenneth Garcia…and Sandoval County Rio Metro Transit Operator Rex Musselman. Both Ken and Rex had were on hand to receive their awards, and like the remarks that were said about Bill and Clyde – these two men were also lauded by their fellow employees as hard-working and always ready and willing to help out.
Last, but certainly not least…the 2022 Peer Recognition Award for a New Mexico Workforce Connection Employee went to Business Consultant Bailee Monk. Bailee’s peers had lots of positive things to say about her as well, including how “intelligent, strong, and fearless” she is in her position…and that she has the ability to learn quickly and take initiative whenever needed.
The MRCOG truly has its finger on the pulse of virtually every area in central New Mexico…but don’t take it from us - you read all about it in this year’s 2022 MRCOG Annual Report.