After the city's finance director raised red flags about financial controls designed to safeguard public money, an outside review from a company hired by the city says Santa Fe has "extremely high risks of fraud" in its financial systems. Two employees have been placed on leave, reportedly including the city's assistant financial director. The review said she had virtually unlimited access to nearly every aspect of city finances. Santa Fe plans to hire a forensic accounting firm, but admits the city's financial systems are so far out of whack there may be no way to know if or how much money is missing.
Who wants the ribbon?
Wood Gormley Elementary School received a swell surprise yesterday, as faculty, staff and students learned the school has been nationally recognized as a Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education. It's one of just three schools across the state to earn the honor, which comes for not only being high-performing, but for narrowing the achievement gap between its students. Hopefully they're dishing out extra tater tots at lunch today.
Meanwhile, on the Southside, SFR's cover story this week shows that Eberline, a company that made equipment to detect radiation, left toxic material shuttered inside a building on Airport Road. Santa Fe County had plans to build a park literally next door to a building that had americium and californium in an 80-gallon plastic bin that was sealed with duct tape and Velcro. Aaron Cantú digs into the mess and the cleanup.
Cybersecurity in Española
Northern New Mexico College has a shiny new cybersecurity program. With help from the National Science Foundation and Los Alamos National Labs, the college is rolling out a series of classes designed to give students a foothold in what the growing field of computer experts playing defense against hackers and other countries.
New Mexico leads the nation in the rate of property crime. The ignominious distinction came from the latest FBI crime statistics. Albuquerque drove the state's crime stats, though Santa Fe did have a slight uptick, too. The state is also second in the nation for violent crime. Experts say it's indicative of problems in many areas, including drug use and socioeconomic issues. They also caution it's difficult to measure, because different agencies have different ways of tracking crime data the FBI uses.
The secretary of state has chaptered—made official—10 laws that were vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez last March. Lawmakers from both parties sued the governor over what they say were vetoes that either missed a deadline or didn't contain a message required by the Constitution. The bills do things such as add graduation requirements, change local broadband access and make legal industrial hemp programs.
Santa Fe's school board approved a 90-minute teach-in at district offices next month. Science teachers will gather Oct. 13 to teach lessons on evolution, climate change and other areas that have been edited out of proposed new science standards for the state. The Public Education Department holds a hearing on those standards three days later.
Santa Fe is getting a new fast-food chain. The closed-on-Sunday, one-time same-sex-marriage opposing Chik-fil-A plans to break ground on a restaurant on Cerrillos Road in the College Plaza shopping center.
Thanks for reading! The Word hopes you grab a mug of something warm and enjoy your weekend.
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