Senator Sue Wilson Beffort
, R-Bernalillo, is on the fiscal warpath, and she wants the New Mexico Department of Health to own up to nepotist practices in hiring—during a hiring freeze.
The Department of Health, Beffort says, hired approximately 91 new employees after Gov. Richardson declared a hiring freeze.
It's not the first time—at least 62 people were hired
during the 2008 hiring freeze—but this time, Beffort's righteously mad.
"I have been called by people in the Health Department that are demoralized by the nepotism
that has been going on in hiring non-emergency people," Beffort says. "After the hiring freeze, the Health Department hired, I think, 91 people. They said they were all critical people, so I backed down."
She's done backing down.
"It is a misuse of their definitions
when they are bringing in people [who are] put in receptionist jobs and then trained into financial positions," Beffort says. "As it turns out, they are people who are friends and relatives of people in that budget division."
So, without further ado, here's a sampling of said friends and relatives:
Beffort's accountability initiative began yesterday, during the first of the Legislative Finance Committee's five days of meetings to discuss the intricacies of New Mexico's financial woes, when she hammered New Mexico Finance Secretary Katherine Miller
on the Governor's plans for trimming the budget "systematically, with recurring money" instead of using one-time revenue sources like capital outlay cuts, federal stimulus funds, and the like.
Miller had the unenviable task of delivering dire news: In FY 2010 (which began October 1), the state's recurring revenues will be $10.2 million lower than expected
; in FY11, they'll be $52.7 million lower. Extend that out to FY14, and we're looking at $158.2 million less
than we thought. Sigh.
"I would also question the 8,000 [jobs] that [Miller] indicated were already formulated," Beffort adds. "Up in the Farmington area, they've been getting all this money, and there are no jobs being created
. Plus, are they permanent jobs? Are we going to have the money to keep all these people working?"
Oh, and Santa Claus isn't coming this year.