Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – The top executive in charge of New Mexico’s homeland security agency abruptly resigned Tuesday – the third Cabinet secretary this year to leave the administration of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Jackie Lindsey, a former Albuquerque fire captain, submitted her resignation “to focus on my family and my health,” according to a statement released by the Governor’s Office.
Lindsey had served as secretary for the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management since Lujan Grisham took office this year.
Her departure comes just a day after Lujan Grisham led a meeting with New Mexico’s congressional delegation and state officials to discuss strategies for combating violent crime and domestic terrorism.
The state is also preparing for snow and wintry weather over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Lindsey will be replaced for now by Deputy Secretary Kelly Hamilton, and the Lujan Grisham administration is launching an immediate search for a more permanent successor.
Before joining the state this year, Lindsey had a 17-year career in special operations, homeland security and fire investigations. She once competed in the Olympics as a member of the Canadian softball team.
The state’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has not submitted an annual audit report that was due Nov. 1. A previous audit – from before Lindsey joined the agency – flagged a variety of accounting problems in the department.
Stephanie Telles, director of the Government Accountability Office under State Auditor Brian Colón, said Tuesday that the homeland security department “has been eager to correct the issues and we are encouraged by their efforts.”
Two other Cabinet secretaries also left the administration this year – public education chief Karen Trujillo was removed from her post, and Alice Liu McCoy left Aging and Long-Term Services to take another state job.
Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, is herself a former Cabinet secretary. She won election as governor last year and took office Jan. 1.
A spokeswoman for the Governor’s Office said Lindsey informed Lujan Grisham on Tuesday morning that she was resigning, effective immediately.