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‘Political pay’ at APS is a bad deal

Errors of Enchantment Blog Postings - Mon, 2015-08-31 09:53

Most of the media’s attention has been focused on the ongoing scandal at the top of Albuquerque Public Schools. Unfortunately, an issue with much larger long-term ramifications was voted on by the APS board – minus Peggy Muller-Aragon, who opposed the move.

The issue is of course paying district employees “political pay” for serving in the Legislature. Apparently, a majority of the board recognized an opportunity to increase its influence in Santa Fe at taxpayer expense.

This is a classic case of a taxpayer-funded entity working to further its own political interests at the expense of those who pay the bills. After all, APS already has lobbyists patrolling the halls in Santa Fe, why not add a few more APS-paid legislators into the mix when it comes time to vote on education budgets?

Currently, four legislators are employed by the school district. Those include Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton, D-Albuquerque; Rep. Patricio Ruiloba, D-Albuquerque; and Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Tim Lewis, R-Rio Rancho. Unlike the others, Lewis has not accepted his pay as a teacher in recent years when serving in Santa Fe and presumably will continue to do the same despite the district’s move.

New Mexico has the last citizen legislature. Legislators receive per diem pay on the days the Legislature meets. The state Constitution clearly states that legislators “receive only per diem and mileage and no other compensation, perquisite or allowance.” One would think this language makes clear that a legislator cannot receive any other state monies for their service.

A serious issue with the new APS policy is that it gives APS employees, at least those who accept “political pay,” an unfair advantage over their unpaid colleagues. Board member Barbara Petersen put a positive spin on things, saying that offering the pay could draw more APS employees to become lawmakers when they otherwise might not have been able to afford it.

Of course, and it is in APS’s interest to have sympathetic ears on the payroll in Santa Fe.

One question that needs to be asked now is whether these legislators will be allowed to receive “per diem” pay as legislators (again at taxpayer expense). Former APS Board member Kathy Korte once called this “triple-dipping.”

It would seem that if taxpayers are paying legislators through their employer, they shouldn’t be forced to pay them again for their service through the per diem system.

Concern over public employees serving in the Legislature is nothing new. The New Mexico Supreme Court just decided that the city of Albuquerque was justified in restricting city employees from serving as legislators.

During the 2015 legislative session, Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, sponsored legislation, HB 439, that would have prohibited APS and other “subdivisions of the state” from compensating their workers for time served in the Legislature. Unfortunately, the bill did not make it out of the House.

New Mexico has long had bigger-than-average-government (including state and local governments). According to the website Key Policy Data, New Mexico has the second-largest ratio of state and local workers relative to private sector workers in the nation. It is widely recognized across partisan lines that New Mexico needs a larger, more vibrant private sector.

We can appreciate the willingness of all who serve in New Mexico’s unpaid, volunteer Legislature to give their time to make our state a better place to live, but government agencies shouldn’t be “stacking the deck” by giving their employees a big financial advantage when it comes to serving in the Legislature.

Private sector and self-employed legislators (and their employers) face real hardships when serving in Santa Fe. But their experience and the sacrifices they make provide a perspective that is simply missing from many who make their living in government.

Rather than encouraging more government workers to serve in the Legislature at added taxpayer expense, New Mexico needs an even playing field with public workers facing the same financial sacrifices as we expect from those without the benefit of a taxpayer-funded job.

Paul Gessing is the President of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation. The Rio Grande Foundation is an independent, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility

 

New Mexico lawmakers to get update on Gila River project - Washington Times

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-08-31 09:03

New Mexico lawmakers to get update on Gila River project
Washington Times
SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) - Legislators will be getting an update on the Gila River diversion project in southwestern New Mexico from state and federal water managers. The Legislature's Water and Natural Resources Committee is meeting Monday and ...

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Categories: News

NM volleyball team's bus flips in Texas - KOAT Albuquerque

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-08-31 08:57

KOAT Albuquerque

NM volleyball team's bus flips in Texas
KOAT Albuquerque
ROSWELL, N.M. —Nearly a dozen students from the New Mexico Military Institute were hurt in a bus crash this weekend. The school's volleyball team was on a bus near Abilene, Texas, when the vehicle rolled Saturday night. Troopers said after a car ...
New Mexico Military Institute volleyball team involved in bus accidentKRQE News 13
New Mexico volleyball team involved in bus crash in TexasKFDA

all 21 news articles »
Categories: News

881 ET cartridges buried in New Mexico desert sell for $107930.15 - Ars Technica

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-08-31 08:16

Ars Technica

881 ET cartridges buried in New Mexico desert sell for $107930.15
Ars Technica
The dusty town of Alamogordo in New Mexico has announced that in a series of eBay auctions, 881 of the early-1980s Atari video game cartridges that were buried for decades in the desert have sold for a grand total of $107,930.15. Last April, a film ...
Those Old 'ET' Atari Games Dug Up in New Mexico Desert Sold For $108KNBCNews.com
Sales of Atari Games Exhumed from New Mexico Landfill Exceed $100kIGN
Buried New Mexico Atari Games Bring In $100000 In Auctionio9
Gamasutra -Game Informer -Inverse
all 216 news articles »
Categories: News

For Gators, there will be bigger challenges than New Mexico State - SaintPetersBlog (blog)

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-08-31 07:48

SaintPetersBlog (blog)

For Gators, there will be bigger challenges than New Mexico State
SaintPetersBlog (blog)
Why, that's New Mexico State, a sacrificial lamb, that comes into the Swamp on Saturday, and the mention of the Aggies does not exactly cause sweat beads to form on the forehead. This isn't a real football game for the Florida Gators. This is a show of ...
New Mexico State Aggies vs. Florida Gators - 9/5/15 College Football Pick ...Sports Chat Place
Florida Football Releases Depth Chart For New Mexico State GameCampus Insiders

all 91 news articles »
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Former APD officer stripped of law enforcement certification - KOAT Albuquerque

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-08-31 07:31

KOAT Albuquerque

Former APD officer stripped of law enforcement certification
KOAT Albuquerque
NEW MEXICO TOWN, TELLS ACTION 7 NEWS REPORTER SANDRA RAMIREZ, THAT HURTS HIS COMMUNITY. SANDRA: IN THE SMALL, CLOSE-KNIT VILLAGE OF BOSQUE FARMS, EVERYONE KNOWS EVERYONE. INCLUDING THEIR SWORN ...

Categories: News

Historic post office, ceremonial site among New Mexico places added to ... - Minneapolis Star Tribune

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-08-31 07:21

Odessa American

Historic post office, ceremonial site among New Mexico places added to ...
Minneapolis Star Tribune
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 1,200-year-old Native American ceremonial site in northern New Mexico and the post office that served scientists following the Manhattan Project are among the latest locations to make the National Register of Historic Places.
6 New Mexico Sites Make National List of Historic PlacesABC News

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New Mexico school superintendent who hired Colorado sex abuse suspect may lose job - The Denver Channel

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-08-31 05:50

The Denver Channel

New Mexico school superintendent who hired Colorado sex abuse suspect may lose job
The Denver Channel
The board of New Mexico's largest school district is scheduled to decide the future of its embattled superintendent following the hiring of an administrator from Denver who is facing charges of child sex abuse. Albuquerque school board members are ...
APS head resigns, $80000 buyout announcedKOAT Albuquerque
NM superintendent under fire for hiring official facing sex abuse charges resignsFox News Latino

all 97 news articles »
Categories: News

VA health officials say New Mexico patients wait times down - KRQE News 13

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-08-31 05:38

KRQE News 13

VA health officials say New Mexico patients wait times down
KRQE News 13
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – The managers of the agencies that provide health care and disability benefits to New Mexico veterans say wait times for medical appointments and disability claims have improved. Andrew Welch, New Mexico VA Health Care System ...

Categories: News

New Mexico Secretary Of State Charged With Theft - KJZZ

New Mexico News from Google ... - Mon, 2015-08-31 02:15

KSN-TV

New Mexico Secretary Of State Charged With Theft
KJZZ
SANTA FE, N.M.New Mexico's Democratic attorney general on Friday charged Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran with embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations, further widening a rift between the two over ...
Common Cause Director "Shocked" By Allegations Against Duran; Presses For ...KRWG

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Griz volleyball team falls to New Mexico State - The Missoulian

New Mexico News from Google ... - Sun, 2015-08-30 16:30

Griz volleyball team falls to New Mexico State
The Missoulian
The Montana volleyball team lost in three quick sets to New Mexico State on Sunday on the final day of the Air Force Academy Falcon Classic, 13-25, 18-25, 19-25. In all three sets the Aggies (3-1) got out strong and never lost the lead after the first ...

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Buffs Dominate New Mexico, Win 4-0 - CUBuffs.com

New Mexico News from Google ... - Sun, 2015-08-30 15:21

CUBuffs.com

Buffs Dominate New Mexico, Win 4-0
CUBuffs.com
BOULDER – The University of Colorado women's soccer team recorded its second clean sheet of the season in dominant fashion on Sunday, defeating New Mexico 4-0 at Prentup Field. The Buffaloes improved to 2-1-1 overall and New Mexico dropped to 1-3 ...
Women's soccer: Lobos off to rocky start after ColoradoUNM Daily Lobo

all 3 news articles »
Categories: News

VA health officials say New Mexico patients wait times down - SFGate

New Mexico News from Google ... - Sun, 2015-08-30 15:14

VA health officials say New Mexico patients wait times down
SFGate
An Associated Press report identified New Mexico as one of the worst ranked states for delayed appointments. Norton took over the regional benefits office 2 ½ years ago. He said recently that a slow recover from the Great Recession, an influx of new ...

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Categories: News

Common Cause Director "Shocked" By Allegations Against Duran; Presses For ... - KRWG

New Mexico News from Google ... - Sun, 2015-08-30 13:30

KRWG

Common Cause Director "Shocked" By Allegations Against Duran; Presses For ...
KRWG
Common Cause New Mexico's Executive Director, Viki Harrison, released the following statement today regarding the Secretary of State situation “Like the rest of the state, Common Cause New Mexico was shocked to hear of the criminal complaints filed ...

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Categories: News

VA health officials say New Mexico patients wait times down - Colorado Springs Gazette

New Mexico News from Google ... - Sun, 2015-08-30 13:28

VA health officials say New Mexico patients wait times down
Colorado Springs Gazette
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The managers of the agencies that provide health care and disability benefits to New Mexico veterans say wait times for medical appointments and disability claims have improved. Andrew Welch, New Mexico VA Health Care ...

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Categories: News

VA health officials say New Mexico patients wait times down - KOB.com

New Mexico News from Google ... - Sun, 2015-08-30 13:20

KOB.com

VA health officials say New Mexico patients wait times down
KOB.com
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The managers of the agencies that provide health care and disability benefits to New Mexico veterans say wait times for medical appointments and disability claims have improved. Andrew Welch, New Mexico VA Health Care ...

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Categories: News

Hunting season opens Tuesday in New Mexico - Las Cruces Sun-News

New Mexico News from Google ... - Sun, 2015-08-30 13:08

Hunting season opens Tuesday in New Mexico
Las Cruces Sun-News
Hunting seasons for doves, blue grouse, band-tailed pigeons and squirrels opens Tuesday in Doña Ana County, and other areas of the state, according to a news release from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Licenses, maps, questionnaires ...

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Buried New Mexico Atari Games Bring In $100000 In Auction - io9

New Mexico News from Google ... - Sun, 2015-08-30 12:35

io9

Buried New Mexico Atari Games Bring In $100000 In Auction
io9
As the video game market crashed in the mid-1980s, Atari disposed of much of their surplus games, including their infamous adaptation of E.T. in a New Mexico landfill, prompting urban legends among geek circles. Three decades later, Joe Lewandowski, ...
881 ET cartridges buried in New Mexico desert sell for $107930.15Ars Technica
Unearthed Atari Games in New Mexico Landfill Go For Over $100000 In AuctionTech Times
Atari games found in New Mexico landfill sell for more than $100000Press Herald
International Business Times UK -Newser
all 167 news articles »
Categories: News

VA health officials say New Mexico patients wait times down - Washington Times

New Mexico News from Google ... - Sun, 2015-08-30 12:06

VA health officials say New Mexico patients wait times down
Washington Times
Andrew Welch, New Mexico VA Health Care System director, and Chris Norton, regional director for the Veterans Benefits Administration, told the Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/1Iw74XB) on Saturday that notable progress has been made in the past two ...

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Categories: News

Rick Perry on campaign setbacks, future

New Mexico News from FoxNews.com ... - Sun, 2015-08-30 11:44
Republican presidential candidate on 'America's News HQ'
Categories: News
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