Magdalena Village Clerk Francesca Gutierrez takes care of the municipality’s business at her desk in Village Hall.
John Larson| El Defensor Chieftain photos

There’s a new face at Magdalena’s Village Hall. In October, the Board of Trustees approved the hiring of Francesca Gutierrez to be the new Village Clerk.

Born and raised in Socorro, she said her new position is just what she was looking for.

“I worked at New Mexico Tech for 16-anda-half years in the Earth and Environmental Department,” Gutierrez said. “My parents worked at Tech before they retired, and Tech has always been good to me, but I was looking for a new challenge.”

She said her experience handling the slew of contracts, purchasing, and other paperwork at her previous job makes her well suited to be the village clerk.

“With this new job I feel like I am learning new things,” she said. “I’m loving it so much.”

Besides keeping busy with municipal matters, Gutierrez, along with Deputy Clerk Carleen Gomez, is taking care of the annual holiday promotion, Secret Santa. Now in its 24th year, Magdalena’s Secret Santa will once again be receiving a visit – curbside – from Santa again this year, thanks to contributions by the public. Gomez said although there is no physical tree in the Village Hall lobby, the procedure is essentially the same.

Gomez said people can choose a name and buy a toy, or make a cash donation.

“The kids getting gifts are designated by whether it’s a boy or girl, and age,” she said. “Ages range from newborn to 12-years-old. Toys must be dropped off at Village Hall by Dec. 17, and they should not be wrapped.

“If you don’t wish to do the shopping, no problem,” she said. “Donate money and Village staff will do the shopping for you.”

The cash donations are used to make sure every child has a toy. Approximately 50 children are on Santa’s List. Secret Santa gifts will be delivered curbside by Santa and his helpers on Monday, Dec. 21 between 9 a.m. and noon.

Secret Santa is a volunteer project which began in 1996.

“We are also taking monetary and food donations for food boxes that will be delivered on Dec. 22 to needy families in the Village of Magdalena,” Gomez said. “Please contact Village Hall before donating food items so that we can guarantee that someone hasn’t already donated the item.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic public health restrictions, Village Hall is closed to walk-in visits. Call ahead at 575-854-2261.