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  Real People

Award-winner Maria Rinaldi stands with (left) Jack Torres, Town of Bernalillo Mayor and Chairman of MRCOG Board for next year; and Dewey Cave, Executive Director of MRCOG.

Maria Rinaldi wins MRCOG lifetime service award

~Augusta Meyers, Communications Mgr., MRCOG

Acting Town of Bernalillo Administrator Maria Rinaldi’s service goes back some two decades. In fact, there probably isn’t anything that has been planned or developed in the Town in recent years that doesn’t have Maria’s mark on it in some way. Maria has been serving as the Acting Town Administrator since 2010, but her many accomplishments go back farther than that.

Maria created a Youth Conservation Corps program that trained adjudicated youth in the field of preservation of earthen architecture while obtaining a GED. Thanks to that program, the Town of Bernalillo enjoyed a recidivism rate of less than two percent for re-offenders. She also undertook the challenge of taking the Town’s public housing programs from a “troubled status” on the verge of being taken over by HUD, to a “high performer.” Under her tenure, Maria expanded the Town’s critical infrastructure—namely water and sewer—by more than 33 percent capacity while securing consolidated water rights for the Town, and creating streetscapes for pedestrian enhancement.

She has overseen the development and adoption of planning documents to include the Master Land Use Plan, MainStreet Overlay, Transit Oriented Development Plan, Water Conservation Plan, Affordable Housing Plan, and numerous codes and ordinances. Get this: she even studied for and passed the librarian exam to keep Bernalillo’s funding secure when they did not have a librarian on staff.

Maria served as Executive Director of the award-winning New Mexico Wine Festival at Bernalillo for nearly 25 years—showcasing our state’s wine industry, fine arts, agricultural products, and popular stage entertainment. For all of this—and more—we honor Maria Rinaldi with the 2016 Mid-Region Council of Governments Lifetime Service Award.

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