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UNM regent picks submitted to governor

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The committee charged with submitting names to the governor for consideration to fill open seats on the University of New Mexico Board of Regents has completed that task, according to a spokeswoman with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office.

Spokeswoman Nora Sackett said in an email to the Journal that the governor will select new regents from those submitted names.

“The governor is committed to the selection process, created with input and criteria developed by the governor’s higher education transition team,” Sackett said. “The process in ongoing and the governor hopes to announce appointments soon.”

The governor’s nominees are then subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

In a process she described as the “first of its kind,” Lujan Grisham in late December announced the formation of advisory groups that would interview candidates, evaluate them based on criteria crafted for what each institution needs and make recommendations.

Albuquerque attorney Roberta Ramo is chair 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. Attempts to contact Ramo were not successful Tuesday.

Other chairs are: former Gov. Garrey Carruthers, who served as chancellor at New Mexico State University from 2013 until last summer, for the group evaluating candidates to serve on the boards at NMSU and New Mexico Tech; and 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.

Carruthers declined comment for this story.

Lujan Grisham has a unique opportunity to place several of her own picks to the UNM Board of Regents, as five of seven current members’ terms are ending or have been completed.

The Senate failed to hold confirmation hearings for any of former Gov. Susana Martinez’s UNM appointments for the past two years, disrupting the normal, staggered-term system and creating a miscellany board with temporary placements that led to the almost-simultaneous departure of five regents.

Regents Robert M. Doughty, president of the board, and Marron Lee, who serves as chair of the Health Sciences Center and Finance and Facilities committees and the Lobo Development Corporation, are serving with terms expiring in 2020.