Los Alamos County Election Manager Gloria Maestas completed her official last day on the job Tuesday – retiring after 25 years of dedicated service. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com
By Carol A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post
Starting as a student, Los Alamos County Election Manager Gloria Maestas completed her official last day on the job Tuesday – retiring after 25 years of dedicated service.
“I started working at the County as a student in 1994 and was lucky enough to be hired full time in the Finance Department in 1995,” Maestas told the Los Alamos Daily Post. “I worked in Accounts Payable/Indigent Health Care until I moved over to the Clerk’s Office as a Deputy Recorder on Christmas Eve 2001.”
In February 2005, Maestas was promoted to Election Manager, a position she has held for 15 years. The 2020 General Election was bittersweet, she said, because throughout the process she knew this would be her last.
She explained that in the Clerk’s Office all staff are cross-trained. Not only was she the Election Manager planning for an election, she also assisted the office staff in daily land record recording, supporting the Probate Judge, selling marriage licenses and Council meeting support.
Maestas spoke about her fondest memories at the County.
“Those who know me, know I am super shy and love to be behind the scenes!” she said. “But knowing in the 35 elections under my belt that I had a part in helping Los Alamos voters elect their governor, president, representative, councilor or clerk, is such a rewarding feeling.”
Maestas said she also loved interacting with volunteers.
“I have to say the recruiting and training of our election poll workers has been one of the more rewarding responsibilities of my position,” she said. “I have successfully recruited retired County employees to come back and work elections, too. But I have also met and become lifelong friends with some of the most wonderful community members! So many election poll workers share such a passion for serving their community by working election after election! We still have election poll workers today who have been serving since 2006, I have been able to count on them for over 14 years – I guess we have grown to be seasoned together. We always preach that the election poll workers are an essential piece of our election puzzle and one of the reasons they make our office shine.”
Maestas said that every election is a challenge, explaining that the Clerk’s Office is small, and teamwork, support of one another is undeniable. Each election has had its own special challenge or twist, she said. The election code has undergone many changes over the years, so transpires to the conduct and administration of each election.
“But with each election – we learn what we can do better and improve to administer the next one,” Maestas said. “Working in elections is not for the faint of heart! It takes dedication, adapting to change, planning and a LOVE of the process.”
Above all in retirement, Maestas said she will miss all of the wonderful people she has met and developed a rapport with over the years.
“It is pretty special when I simply pick up the phone and whatever I ask, County staff helps out immediately with no reservation,” she said. “I don’t know if there are many organizations that can say that. Our elections used to be so straightforward and simply handled by our staff but now our elections have turned into mini productions and the way County staff from so many departments step in to support our office is remarkable.”
Maestas was born in Española and raised in the beautiful community of Dixon. Her mother still lives in Dixon, she said, and she and her family spend a lot of time there. Her husband Raymond works at LANL and her son Marcos is a sophomore at Los Alamos High School and her daughter is a seventh grader at Los Alamos Middle School.
Maestas described her immediate plans upon retirement.
“Early on in my career, I was very fortunate to have my parents and mother/sister-in law help us raise our children. So now I want to experience being a stay at home mom to my teenagers. I also plan to spend some precious time with my mom and my husband,” she said. “I want to enjoy some me time for a while as well. Time will tell how soon I may re-enter the workforce … it may come fast to help pay for that college tuition!”
Maestas is remaining in the community and said she will be seen around at the schools, doctor’s office, Smith’s and out and about eating. She shared some words for her colleagues in the Clerk’s Office, the County staff as a whole and the Los Alamos community.
“Though I may have held the title election manager, I want to extend my thanks and recognize that our elections have been successful because of every single staff member in our office,” she said. “Naomi, Adrianna, Victoria, Anna, Ubaldo, Francella and all our poll workers … you all are awesome and have worked long hours and have the dedication and heart to ensure that the elections are administered according to law. No matter how big or small the election tasks were, you got them done together!”
“I also want to thank Clerk Naomi Maestas, past County Clerk’s, election poll workers and the community for their support and trust in me to carry out such a sacred responsibility,” she said. “I am very lucky to have worked with wonderful people and I can say I have truly loved my job! It has truly been an honor to have been fortunate enough to serve the citizens of Los Alamos County.”
Officials and Colleagues Bid Maestas Farewell:
Representative Christine Chandler: I wish Gloria a hearty and sincere congratulations for her 26 years of exemplary service to the County. I worked with Gloria over most of those 26 years, as county councilor, probate judge and candidate. I know firsthand her absolute dedication to her work her and her commitment to serving with integrity and grace. Enjoy your retirement Gloria –you deserve every minute of it!
County Manager Harry Burgess: Congratulations to Gloria on her upcoming retirement! She has been responsible for many successful elections and with the completion of the most recent one, which was marked by both record turnout and COVID related challenges, I want to express my appreciation for her efforts, specifically her consistent professionalism and leadership throughout her career.
Deputy County Manager Steven Lynne: I have had the honor of working with Gloria over the past 25 years. Gloria is an ideal employee – she exemplifies professionalism, competence and great customer service. Whether in the Finance Division or in the Clerk’s Office as Election Manager, if Gloria is involved, I know that everything will be managed properly and effectively. The County will have a hard time filling her shoes and I will miss her. I wish you the best Gloria – enjoy!
Former County Assessor JoAnn Johnson: I have known Gloria Maestas for many years. Both as a friend and in my interaction with her as Board of Elections Manager. Gloria has always been knowledgeable, responsive and considerate in her position in the County Clerk’s Office. She has been a real asset to the County of Los Alamos. I wish her the best in her retirement. She will be missed.
Former County Attorney Mary McInerny: Gloria, you have been such a valuable asset to the people of Los Alamos County ensuring efficient and fair elections’ processes as Election Manager for so many years. We all thank you. However, the more important thing is that you have been our friend. The good news is that you will remain our good friend even though you will retire from your Election Manager job. We all wish you good health and fun in retirement. You deserve it!
Former County Clerk Sharon Stover: There is a lot more that happens prior to the County Clerk posting the tally sheets and it all falls on the shoulders of the Elections Manager. Off the top of her head Gloria can recall the numerous and detailed election laws, regulations and procedures and is adept at determining the cause if a voting machine had a glitch. Gloria has trained several hundred poll workers throughout her career and simplified the process so when they interacted with voters, all had trust that the election system is sound. There was never a doubt in the process with Gloria at the helm. When county clerk offices across the State were mandated to do a recount in 2014, Gloria spearheaded the entire complicated process without a hitch! I can’t even begin to imagine what her stress level was during this intense year with the pandemic. But I know though it all she maintained a cool head and portrays confidence as each citizen vote is counted. Above all, I always valued Gloria’s integrity — she is a model Elections Manager, and the Los Alamos community was fortunate to have her. She will be sorely missed as her extensive knowledge and history cannot easily be replaced. On a personal observation, she is a wonderful, loving mom and devoted daughter that somehow could balance the demands and pressure elections bring with her family life. I wish her the very best and know that whatever career or personal life opportunities Gloria chooses going forward, she will be a great success.
County Clerk Naomi Maesta: It has been a pleasure and a true blessing to work with you Glo! Over the last 15 years, you have not only been a supportive co-worker, but you have become a dear friend and confidant of mine. There are countless interviews, election prep planning, and exhaustive meetings that will not be the same without you. I will especially miss our deep conversations and the swapping of yummy recipes. Having you in my life has been such a gift, many times you were the rock I needed to get through some tough decisions, I am not sure what I would have done without you by my side. It is not very often you have the pleasure to work with someone you immediately connect with, but through your nurturing demeanor, you were the heart of the office! You carried that cultivating spirit and added a unique touch and special flair to the election process, which was felt throughout the community. As you retire, remember that you have left behind a legacy of encouragement, achievement, and work ethic that will always be part of us all! We will miss your wisdom and experience, but most of all, we will miss the inspiration you have been to us. Thank you for being a tireless professional, a helpful co-worker, and a great friend! Here’s to you and your family; success and a bright future with the time to do the things you have always wanted to do! Don’t forget we expect peanut butter cookies and rocky road during the election seasons. You will be greatly missed, but I wish you all the best in your future endeavors, congratulations my dear friend! With much love and admiration.
Chief Deputy Clerk Adrianna Ortiz: I have worked closely with Gloria since 2002. Every once in a while, you meet a person that you instantly click with. You’re definitely one of those people for me. Since we first met, we quickly became a “power team”, accomplishing many things during our time in the Clerk’s Office. We have shared too many work and life experiences to summarize in a simple quote, but I thank you for all the good times and sweet memories that we have shared together. Gloria’s dedication and hard work to her craft are clearly evident to all who had the privilege of working or knowing her. I am not going to lie – while it pains me to bid you farewell as you start this new phase in your life, I sincerely wish you all the best in your future endeavors and cherish your time with the family. You may no longer be my coworker, but you will always be my friend – Love, Adrianna – P.S. Nate says he is going to miss your calls telling him what dish to make for our potlucks and the kids wish Auntie Gloria all the best.
Senior Deputy Clerk Victoria Martinez: Best wishes for a happy retirement. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me and taught me over the years. You always inspired and pushed me to do more and learn more in order to better myself. I appreciate it very much and I will miss working with you. I’m going to miss your energy and positivity at the office, I can’t imagine the office without you. You dedicated so much of your time and energy to the office to make it a success. You deserve the best retirement ever, congratulations you have been promoted to one of the best roles in your life!
Presiding Judges John and Norma Puckett: Gloria is the Rock. She is solid and cool under pressure. As a precinct judge, I always knew she was there for me. No matter how busy she was her cool calm voice was there to help and reassure me. Thank you, Gloria for our years of working together. I wish Norma and I could be there to give you a big HUG and send you on to your next adventure in life.
Presiding Judges/Poll Workers Kim and Ken Thomas: Gloria, we have enjoyed working with you over the years; it has been a privilege! Your guidance and hard work have made it easier on us at the polls. And to top it off, you are such a good friend. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement.
Presiding Judge/Poll Worker Mary Wilhoit: I believe this very much describes Gloria … “Always render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be.” –Og Mandino. Gloria has been such a rock and example to all of us of going above and beyond!
Poll Worker Wendy Skidmore: It was a pleasure to serve as a poll worker for you. I was impressed with how patient you always were with everyone. What stood out to me the most was how organized you were and how efficiently you carried out each election. Whoever follows you will have very big shoes to fill!