Bosque Farms — A familiar face is the new Bosque Farms Village Clerk.

The former Pueblo of Isleta governor, Vernon Abeita, became the village clerk and administrator of Bosque Farms in June.

Prior to his governorship, Abeita served as the EMS director of Bosque Farms for six years.

“I’ve always helped people from the beginning of my job,” says Abeita. “Being an EMS provider, I helped them in a medical fashion, and the governorship is a different type of taking care of your people.”

Vernon Abeita
Bosque Farms village clerk
By Jesse Jones
News-Bulletin Staff Writer

Now he is helping the community in his role as clerk, or as Mayor Russell Walkup told Abeita, he is the chief of operations for the village.

Abeita began his career as a paramedic after working as a firefighter for the Pueblo of Isleta Fire Department following high school.

He obtained his basic and intermediate EMT certifications from Central New Mexico Community College, previously known as the Technical Vocational Institute. He then completed his education at the Emergency Medical Services Academy at the University of New Mexico in 2003.

Abeita was promoted to EMS director for the Pueblo of Isleta in 2004. In 2009, he was appointed by former Isleta governor Robert Benavidez as the emergency management coordinator working in dual roles until 2015.

In November 2015, he applied for the Bosque Farms EMS director position and had an interview with the former Bosque Farms Mayor Bob Knowlton. The next day the mayor offered Abeita the job.

The Bosque Farms EMS department is a volunteer department, and his job as director was to recruit and retain volunteers.

“That transition from paid to volunteer kind of threw me for a loop,” says Abeita.

He was used to paid professional EMS personnel running calls at Isleta but, at Bosque Farms, he needed to learn how to get people to work for free and keep them in the department.

Abeita was responsible for building up the EMS department from scratch. He had to ensure its certification by the state and obtain a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration license. He also had to construct a clinic for the EMS program, which was necessary for the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy to permit them to carry drugs on the ambulance and rescue missions.

“I had to work on all that and put it all together, which was cool,” says Abeita. “I got to build a program and basically make it my own.”

He recruited EMS providers from UNM main, UNM Valencia, and CNM campuses. Abeita was able to attract basic and intermediate certified EMTs by modeling the program so the medical technicians could practice at the highest level of care.

Abeita held the volunteers to high standard and wanted them to look professional. They provided them with sharp new uniforms. He said, building that program was one of the highlights of his career.

In 2021, for the third time, he decided to run for governor, and this time, he was elected.

“I ran because I thought I could make a difference,” Abeita said.

He attributed his election success to his medical background. The election took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when everyone was facing unprecedented challenges.

Abeita felt he had the training, resources and context to mitigate the emergency. He reinstated Isleta’s incident command structure after it fell apart prior to him taking office, and after six hours of meetings with the department heads, they had a plan on how to mitigate COVID-19.

He served as governor for two years but doesn’t want to be called a politician.

“I don’t necessarily like politics, but I like serving my community,” said Abeita.

As the village clerk administrator, he continues to serve the community — now in Bosque Farms.

Abeita has faced challenges transitioning between the tribal and municipal governments.

He said the Pueblo keeps information about the government confidential but because it is taxpayer money, the village must disclose everything.

As a clerk administrator, Abeita’s main responsibility is to collaborate with the treasurer to create and manage the budget. Once the budget is finalized, it is reported to the state.

The clerk acts as a representative of the mayor, addressing any issues that may arise and he is also the chief procurement officer for the village.

“Look at the seal of Bosque Farms. It says, ‘Preserving Rural America.’ From talking with the village residents, that’s still what they want. That’s what they want to continue to do. That’s my job to help them preserve rural America,” says Abeita.

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Jesse Jones lives in Albuquerque with his wife and son. Jesse graduated from of the University of New Mexico twice. This spring, he graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism and, in 2006, he received a bachelor’s degree in university studies with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a current fellow of the New Mexico Local News Fund.