Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
A former governor and a prominent Albuquerque attorney will help Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham select regents for New Mexico universities, a process she described as the “first of its kind.”
Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who takes office next week, said Friday that she is establishing advisory committees to interview and evaluate candidates to serve on the governing boards that oversee institutions throughout the state.
“We are doing the work to ensure our universities have exactly the right regents and the leadership these great institutions deserve,” Lujan Grisham said in a news release.
Formation of the advisory groups comes as Lujan Grisham has a chance to dramatically reshape the Board of Regents at the University of New Mexico. Five of the seven members are due to be replaced because their terms have expired or are about to.
The university has faced intense criticism over budget problems in the athletics department and a recent decision to cut some sports, including soccer.
And in October, the state Attorney General’s Office seized the financial records of former UNM athletics director Paul Krebs, looking for evidence of money laundering, fraud and embezzlement, court documents show.
Lujan Grisham on Friday announced the heads of her three advisory committees:
• Former Gov. Garrey Carruthers, who served as chancellor at New Mexico State University until this summer, for the group evaluating candidates to serve on the boards at NMSU and New Mexico Tech.
Carruthers retired from NMSU this summer after the regents didn’t renew his contract, though he’d expressed interest in staying.
Carruthers, a Republican, served as governor of New Mexico in 1987-91.
• Roberta Ramo, a prominent Albuquerque attorney, for the UNM committee. She is a former UNM regent and in 1995 became the first woman to serve as president of the American Bar Association.
• Carlos Rey Romero, a top executive at New Mexico Tech, for a comprehensive committee for regent candidates at other institutions, including Eastern New Mexico University and New Mexico Highlands University.
The advisory committees will interview candidates and evaluate them based on criteria crafted for what each institution needs, Lujan Grisham said. They will make recommendations, and Lujan Grisham will ultimately make the selections.
Confirmation by the state Senate is required.
Lujan Grisham has an unusual number of regent appointments to make, in fact, because the Senate refused to act on some nominees of outgoing Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican. Democrats hold majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature.
The governor-elect’s transition team has a website for people who want to apply for a job or a seat on a board or commission. Visit govelectlujangrisham.com to apply.