The City of Palmdale has been through some changes the past year, first with the election of Mayor Steve Hofbauer, who beat incumbent Jim Ledford in 2018 and now with the installation of a new city manager, to replace James Purtee.

Ledford was mayor of Palmdale for 26 years — the city’s longest-serving mayor since its founding in 1962. Purtee has 31 years of experience in city management. His successor, J.J. Murphy, is currently the assistant city manager.

Murphy joined the City of Palmdale in June 2018, after leaving his post as city manager in Hobbs, N.M., which he held since 2012. However, he has more than 20 years’ experience in various public service roles.

“He brings expertise in public-private partnerships for municipal projects, serving on the Board of the National council of Public-Private Partnerships,” a report in the Monday edition of the Antelope Valley Press said.

He was also named New Mexico City Manager of the Year in 2016 for his work in Hobbs.

“Among his projects there, was the award-winning Rockwind Community Links gold course and the Center of Recreational Excellence, a $63.5 million recreational center with six public and private partners,” the report said. “The latter is the most comprehensive recreational center and economic development driver within 500 miles.”

In addition to his position as the city manager in Hobbs, Murphy is also a veteran with 20 years of service. He was a major in the Air Force Reserves, with the majority of his military service spent managing command and control centers in Africa, Haiti and elsewhere around the world.

Murphy also has a degree in political science and a master’s degree from Marywood University.

Under Purtee, the City of Palmdale planned to spend $146.8 million on Capital Improvement Projects. Ninety percent of that amount has been set aside for various road projects. The city’s budget, approved on June 4, during a meeting, focused on priorities including public safety, economic development, completion of existing parks, parks safety and maintenance of existing facilities.

We hope that Murphy will continue to work with the best interest of Palmdale residents in mind.

The contract for Murphy will be presented for approval at the City Council’s Dec. 3 meeting.

Purtee announced his retirement last month, capping his 31-year career in city management. He’s been with the City of Palmdale since 2015.

We wish Purtee the best of luck in his future endeavors and hope he enjoys retirement.

We also wish Murphy the best of luck as the new city manager and are anxious to see what new projects he has in mind for the City of Palmdale.

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