Eleven months have passed since SFR first published Diane Moore's concerns about hiring and financial practices at the New Mexico Department of Health. For most of that time, Moore has been simultaneously pursuing her grievances and trying to get her job back. But finally, on Oct. 22, Moore filed a lawsuit in 1st Judicial District Court accusing the DOH of violating the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act and the newly minted Whistleblower Protection Act.
The allegations include both Moore's original complaints—that DOH higher-ups hand-picked their own relatives for jobs during a hiring freeze and inappropriately moved public money—and how the DOH dealt with those complaints. According to the case file, Moore first aired concerns about the use of the DOH's financial records system as far back as 2006. Those concerns later expanded to include other financial issues and nepotism. Though Moore pursued them through the proper chain of command, she alleges that the DOH retaliated by imposing disciplinary measures, limiting her access to the public financial systems she needed to do her job and, ultimately, transferring her to another division when her complaints became public.
Moore, who declined to comment for this story but has spoken with SFR in the past, has requested a six-person jury. DOH officials also declined to comment.