In a slightly rumpled blue-gray suit and sneakers, the man with the recognizable red beard directed traffic — a steady stream of men and women in sharper suits, with laptops, all gathering behind various closed doors.

Brian Blalock, the new Cabinet secretary of New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department, ducked in and out of conference rooms in his office on the fifth floor of the PERA Building. It’s been the norm since he started the job five weeks ago, he would say in an interview later at a nearby coffee shop.

“Oh, man,” he said over a cup of tea, “20-hour days. Not a lot of sleep.”

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