Sept. 19, 2017
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Morning Word: Santa Fe Hitches its Finances to the Wells Fargo Wagon

August 22, 2017, 7:30 am

Santa Fe set to stick with Wells Fargo
After opening up bidding for its four-year financial services contract last spring, the city of Santa Fe says Wells Fargo is still its best option. City councilors and the mayor raised questions about the bank after it helped finance the Dakota Access Pipeline project and opened fake accounts for customers. But just two local banks applied to handle city business, and city staff said Wells Fargo's community involvement scores were among the highest of five applicants.

Española police chief to resign 
Facing charges of child abuse and intimidation of a witness, Española Police Chief Matthew Vigil will resign next week. Those felony charges are related to two separate incidents over the past year. Vigil had been placed on paid leave by the city's mayor, who didn't talk to a newspaper after saying last week that the charges were a "personal matter."
  
Slipping past the competition
A team from the New Mexico state auditor says $6.5 billion in contracts bypass the state's competitive bidding guidelines. That number makes it harder for citizens to keep an eye on how their government spends tax dollars, State Auditor Tim Keller says.

Final plea
New Mexico's congressional Democrats sent a letter to US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ahead of Thursday's deadline to decide whether to reduce the size of some relatively new national monuments. The Democrats, including both US senators, say the monuments help drive the local economy. New Mexico's land history is fraught with disputes, though, and there are some who consider the monuments in Las Cruces and near Taos and Questa another government land grab.

Mine 
Gov. Susana Martinez says a bipartisan group of legislators who have publicly urged New Mexico State University to keep Chancellor Garrey Carruthers past his current contract is playing politics. The choice to appoint university heads should be up to the regents she appoints, Martinez says.

Green future
Mayor Javier Gonzales wants to study whether Santa Fe can use renewable energy to power the city's buildings by 2025. The uncontroversial measure cleared the city's finance committee last night. Right now, about 25 percent of the city's energy use comes from renewable sources.

Bail bondsmen sue NM Supreme Court
New Mexico's constitutional practice of releasing suspects before trial if there's no apparent threat to public safety is being argued over in federal court. A group of bail bond companies and lawmakers say the accused should be able to pay bail without waiting for a judge. But the court has argued the practice leaves poor suspects in jail when they pose no threat, but can't afford bail.

August showers
We're back to the monsoonal moisture patterns this week. Wednesday and Friday look like gorgeous days, with the rest of the bunch promising a chance of showers. Drink it in.

Thanks for reading! The Word reminds you to wipe your feet before you go inside. You're tracking mud everywhere.

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