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Sebold out; Lazarz to assume Gallup tourism duties

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No specifics given on change

Jennifer Lazarz, the manager of the city-owned and historic El Morro Theatre, is now the interim city tourism and marketing manager, officials confirmed. Klo Abeita, city human resources director, told the Sun this week that Gallup tourism and marketing manager Catherine Sebold departed the $63,000 job on Aug. 19. There was no elaboration by Abeita nor the city on why Sebold vacated the job.

“[Lazarz] will be performing the tourism manager duties until we fill the position vacancy,” Abeita said.

Asked if Sebold, who started the job in February of this year, resigned or was terminated, Abeita said, “It was the end of her at-will assignment.”

At-will means a city employee can be extricated from the job at any given moment. Abeita said an advertisement for the tourism job would go out no later than Aug. 26.

Meanwhile, Lazarz hit the ground running this week and was front and center at the Aug. 23 regular city meeting. In her new role, she’ll handle a lodgers tax agenda matter that saw council members unanimously award $3,000 to a softball tournament.

After the city meeting, Lazarz, who earns $46,000 annually, plus a living stipend, said she’ll follow through on what was already put in place by Sebold. She said she’ll concentrate on the formation of the city’s tourism website and growth master plan, among other projects.

The city recently entered into a $185,000 professional services agreement with the Gallup-McKinley County Chamber of Commerce.

“A lot of what I’ll be doing is already in place,” the interim tourism and marketing manager said.

Abeita did not respond to a question about Lazarz receiving extra pay for her double-duty, nor did she elaborate on the “at-will” statement.

The El Morro Theatre has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1988. The Gallup tourism and manager job was the first of its kind in Gallup.

Reached by telephone, Sebold, previously a communications and public affairs manager in Prescott, Ariz., said she was moving on and otherwise had no comment on the job matter.

An Illinois native, Lazarz is an accomplished opera singer. She possesses an undergraduate degree from Augustana College in Illinois and a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina.

By Bernie Dotson
Sun Correspondent