Officials at the $4.2 billion New Mexico Public Employees' Retirement Association, Santa Fe, are evaluating responses to a fixed-income search that will result in placement of nearly $1.7 billion. Jeffrey W. States, director-investments, said 73 responses were received by the April 15 deadline. Hirings are expected to be made at the May 30 board meeting. At that time pcore fixed-income index, active short and intermediate, long-duration and mortgage-backed fixed-income managers will be selected. The search was required by state law. The system's four incumbent fixed-income managers - Nicholas-Applegate, Putnam Investments, Smith Breeden and BZW Barclays - were among those responding to the RFP.