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“I saw huge potential,” Assistant City Manager Ikani Taumoepeau (pronounced I con E tau-moe-peau) said of his decision to move to Las Cruces.
He was attracted to Las Cruces because of community members’ “core values, respect for each other, family and religion,” he said.
Taumoepeau previously served as city manager in Clayton, assistant city manager in Santa Paula and deputy city manager in Morro Bay – all in California – and as economic development director/assistant to the city administrator in Eagle Mountain, Utah (working alongside Las Cruces City Manager Ifo Pili). Taumoepeau became Las Cruces assistant city manager in January, serving alongside fellow Assistant City Manager Eric Enriquez.
Taumoepeau oversees the city departments of Economic Development (he is also serving currently as interim department director), Parks and Recreation, Quality of Life, Sustainability, Las Cruces International Airport and Visit Las Cruces.
He speaks highly of department directors like Sustainability Officer Lisa Larocque and Airport Administrator Andy Hume.
“It’s not rocket science when you have an all-star cast,” he said. “We have a great staff with great skill sets.”
Las Cruces’ “community of industries” like aerospace, tourism and film and television production, bring opportunities for collaboration and partnership, Taumoepeau said.
Taumoepeau and his wife have a son and three daughters, ages 1-8.
Las Cruces has a “family environment,” he said, and has turned out to be “everything we thought this city would be. It’s all true.”
Going forward, Taumoepeau said the goal for city leadership is “to take Las Cruces to a place it’s never been before.”
“We have the team to get there,” he said, and Pili “has the vision of where he wants to go.”
Transparency, “being accountable to the public” and having an open-door policy are also important elements of good government, Taumoepeau said.
“The best ideas come because you’re talking to stakeholders in the community,” he said. Working with local stakeholders and regional partners is “organic collaboration,” he said.
A native of San Francisco, Taumoepeau has a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in Spanish. He has a master’s degree in public administration. Both degrees are from Brigham Young University.