Despite hiring a large number of workers in recent years, the vacancy rate for CYFD's Protective Services Division was at 15 percent earlier this month, according to the Legislative Finance Committee. The division investigates child abuse allegations, among other duties. The vacancy rate included 29 unfilled caseworker job positions.
The division's vacancy rate was 13 percent as of April 2011, according to the legislative audit.
“We shouldn't wait for disasters like this, and issues like this -- it just makes me sick to my stomach,” said Padilla. “I am not going to let this young man’s death be in vain, we are going to find answers here, solve this issue and we are going to change New Mexico in this very critical area.”
In his letter to the attorney general, Padilla called for a nonpartisan commission of former Supreme Court justices to investigate Varela’s case.
As things stand now, judges and magistrates can name survivor beneficiaries without any reductions in their pensions. And, upon the death of a retired judge or magistrate, a survivor beneficiary receives 75 percent of the pension for life – regardless of the beneficiary's age.
I reported in July that the provisions would allow, for example, a judge's grandchild to receive millions of dollars in survivor benefits over the child's lifetime.
“These laws are not etched in stone,” said Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela, D-Santa Fe. “We can change them … We need to stabilize the lottery.”
“This problem has been known, it’s been looming, it’s been coming and should have been solved a year or two ago, but it was not solved,” Martinez said.
Orth said the Environment Department secretary should deny Valley Meat Co.’s application because of its record of environmental violations when it slaughtered cattle. The company’s plant is just east of Roswell.
In her 49-page recommendation, Orth said Valley Meat had “a long history of avoiding regulation” and that it would not take steps to protect groundwater from contamination.
@trip_44Doing fine. On staff at the New Mexican.— Milan Simonich (@MilansNMreport) January 7, 2014
San Juan County officials said the county's Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILT, payment for 2014 is uncertain.
The federal government provides counties throughout the country with PILT payments to compensate local governments for having federal land within its borders because the governments don't collect property taxes from that land.
"I thought Dennis Rodman crossed a line this morning by implying that Kenneth Bae might be guilty, by suggesting that there was a crime. There is no crime. Kenneth Bae is an American detainee that's been there a year in bad health who deserves to come home. I think Dennis has drank a little bit too much of the kool-aid from the North Koreans."Richardson is a former ambassador the United Nations and has traveled to North Korea himself. He also has negotiated with North Korea over the years including during his time as governor.
Rodman is in North Korea with a team of ex NBA players for an exhibition game to celebrate the birthday of Kim Jong Un. Rodman describes the trip as "basketball diplomacy."
Heather Balas, executive director of New Mexico First, said perspective on water issues varies from north to south, with northern New Mexico concerned about watershed management. "Folks in the south were just more concerned about ag," she said.
Tri-State spokesman Lee Boughey said in an email that the board voted to stop the program for co-ops that “are not paying the full cost of electric service, including the cost of providing energy efficiency service.”
New Mexico regulators have suspended a proposed rate hike from Tri-State pending an investigation into whether the increase is warranted. Because of the suspension, Tri-State argues that New Mexico co-ops are not paying the same rates as co-ops in Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska.