Mayor-Elect Tim Keller announced two more appointments on Tuesday to executive positions in his administration.
Longtime government employee Lawrence Rael will serve as the City’s Chief Operating
Officer, while environmental and civil rights attorney Oriana Sandoval will serve as the Deputy City Attorney, a new position being created by Keller.
Rael has a long history in city and local government. He has served as Assistant to the CAO, and later as CAO, for three different mayors. He also headed the Mid-Region Council of Governments for a decade. In 2002 he was appointed by then-President Barack Obama as director of the Farm Services Agency for New Mexico.
Throughout his career, Rael was instrumental in key projects like the expansion of the Airport and Convention Center; development of the Balloon Fiesta Park; Explora Science Center, the Aquarium and Botanic Gardens, and the Isotopes Baseball Park; and transportation infrastructure including managing the planning of the Rail Runner Express commuter rail line. Rael also served as the President of the Green Chamber of Commerce, advocating to increase investments in New Mexico’s renewable energy sector.
Sandoval will serve as Deputy City Attorney, a new role created by Keller. She will focus
on critical issues including immigrant rights protection, refugee affairs, environmental justice and civil rights. Sandoval has specialized in these issues for more than a decade, most recently serving as the Policy Director and Chief Executive Officer at the Center for Civic Policy (CCP) since 2013. A native of Albuquerque, Sandoval received a Masters in Public Policy from the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy and a Juris Doctor from UC Berkeley School of Law. She is currently an active member of the New Mexico Bar Association.
“During this historically short transition period, we’re crafting a leadership team to take over operations on day one, while implementing our vision for a safe, innovative and inclusive city,” Keller said. “We're building a talented team to tackle Albuquerque’s challenges head on. I have appointed Lawrence Rael as Chief Operating Officer and Oriana Sandoval as Deputy City Attorney. Together, they will bring a powerful combination of fresh talent and perspective with deep local government experience to the job.”