State Sen. Tim Keller, D-Bernalillo, proposed the reforms following last summer's controversy over a faked internal audit from the agency. NMFA, a quasi-governmental agency, helps local
governments in new Mexico score high-rated bonds for infrastructure projects.
Currently, Martinez has authority to name five of NMFA's 11 board members, but four others are comprised of the governor's cabinet secretaries. The NMFA reforms would limit the governor's appointee power four members and allow both parties in the Legislature to appoint four other members (the remaining two board members are city and county representatives).
"Because of the nature of projects that are overseen by the NMFA, having cabinet secretaries or others who specialize in environment, energy, finance, and economic development is not only necessary, it is vital to carrying out the mission of the NMFA," Martinez writes.
The veto comes just days after the Albuquerque Journal editorial department, known for its right-of-center leanings, praised NMFA's "turnaround" under new NMFA board chairwoman Nann Winter, a Martinez appointee, for maintaining high bond ratings despite last year's controversy. Keller opposed Winter's confirmation because of her law firm's contracts with the state Department of Transportation, which is in charge of public projects tied with NMFA.
"If you want an independent bonding agency, it can't be a part of state government," Keller told SFR in February.
Keller modeled his NMFA bill after his successful reforms to the State Investment Council, which underwent its share of controversy under former Gov. Bill Richardson. He was later awarded a Light of Liberty Award from the libertarian Rio Grande Foundation for his SIC reforms.
Read Martinez' veto message here:
Santa Fe Reporter