County Commissioner Steven Michael Quesada Guest Column: “The Bad Politics Plaguing Bernalillo County Commission”

Bernalillo County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada is a life-long resident of New Mexico. Commissioner Quezada is a screen actors guild award-winning actor, producer and comedian with a long record of public service for Bernalillo County children and families.  He pursued his love of performing by studying theatre arts at Eastern New Mexico University, and has earned the distinction as one of the most charitable celebrities in New Mexico.

Commissioner Quezada has raised money for organizations such as Youth Development Incorporated and countless others. Quezada  has also worked with the gang intervention, Mi Voz and Elev8 programs through YDI, taught acting to local kids, and educated future filmmakers at the Digital Arts and Technology Academy.  He is married to Cherise Quezada, has four children, and plays golf in his spare time.

EDITOR’S DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this guest column written by Bernalillo County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada are those of  Commissioner  Quezada and do not necessarily reflect those of the blog. Commissioner Quezada has not been paid any compensation to publish the guest column and has given his consent to publish on

“With roughly a year and a half left in my tenure as a Bernalillo County Commissioner, I feel the need to speak out, once again, against the “bad politics” plaguing the Bernalillo County Commission.  More specifically, the inclusion of Commissioner Adriann Barboa in the hiring process for the newly created position of Deputy County Manager for Behavioral Health.

During my years on the county commission, I have seen the good and the bad; appropriate decisions and those that have failed and divided this great county.  But this latest power move by Commissioner Barboa is out of line, out of touch and smacks of political patronage, a practice in which a political party, after winning an election, gives government jobs to its supporters, friends (cronyism), and relatives (nepotism).  This is not an accusation, merely an observation that is not solely my own.

 It seems that since 2016, politics has degraded into the practice of politicians forcing their political views under the guise of leadership while double-talking to save their political careers and push their misguided values.

Commissioner Barboa appears no different.  She says her knowledge and work in the behavioral health field will allow her to share institutional knowledge in the hiring process for the new Deputy County Manager.  And while she states that the final decision is not hers, the mere fact that she urged friends and acquaintances to apply and that she is privy to the selection process and applicants, gives her undue, unfair, unethical, and possibly illegal influence on the process, putting Bernalillo County in a vulnerable legal position.

The county commission hired Julie Morgas Baca as County Manager in 2015 with the simple understanding that she works for the commission, but the employees work for her.

 Commissioner’s don’t hire and fire, they develop policy to guide county government.  Among other duties, the commissioners have final authority on budget, affirm proper tax rates, issue general obligation bonds, pass ordinances and resolutions, make appointments to boards and commissions, create fire districts, and establish zoning and business regulations.

Nowhere does it state that commissioners should be involved in hiring county staff.

It’s no secret that the county commission is divided.  In the past few years the votes have been a standard 4 – 1 based on party affiliation.  More recently, the votes have digressed to a common 3 – 2 margin with commissioners Adriann Barboa, Barbara Baca, and Eric Olivas forming a majority. As for the vote to allow commissioner Barboa to sit on the selecetion committee for the new Deputy Manager, I was the only dissenting vote.

Please don’t confuse my explanation with an apology.  I am never sorry for the way I vote and always work, and vote, with the best interest of the county and all residents as my guide.

 As I serve out my final months on the commission, I will continue to vote my conscience for all who live, work, and plan their futures in this great county.  But I do encourage you to speak up against this feeble attempt at a power grab, rise up against government intrusion, and vote your conscience in the next election.

At Bernalillo County I don’t know if you can count on us but you can definitely county on me!

The link to a relevant Dinelli blog article is here:

Bernalillo County Commission To Appoint House District 25 Replacement On August 11; Democratic Party Candidate Forum On August 2 To Make Non-Binding Recommendations To County Commission; Candidate Biographies; County Commission Party Infighting Reason For Forum

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.