Boss/underboss job swap. It’s an oft-played game in Land of Enchantment county government circles where political pals trade jobs when elected officials are no longer eligible and have to step down.
The treasurer and other top county officials can be elected to two consecutive four-year terms and are then “term-limited.” Credentials specific to the job are not required, although it could be argued they should be.
So now we find outgoing Bernalillo County Treasurer Patrick Padilla back working in the Treasurer’s Office as part-time investment officer under new Treasurer Manny Ortiz.
That would be the same Manny Ortiz who held that same investment officer job under Padilla from 2005 right up until Ortiz took elected office in January.
Can we all spell C-O-Z-Y?
Is it illegal? No. But does it look hinky? Yes.
Because Ortiz has been doing this job under Padilla, why would Ortiz need Padilla to help out now? After all, voters put Ortiz in office to be treasurer, not Padilla, and we have term limits for a reason, right? The surface answer would appear to be political palship.
Padilla, who was treasurer the past eight years and also in the 1980s says he’s sticking around to help protect the investment piggy bank so someone new doesn’t come in and muck things up by cashing out investments or making changes to the Padilla/Ortiz system.
Ortiz says he may keep Padilla on in his new job in the Treasurer’s Office only six months to a year. That’s one intention worth keeping.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.