Cabinet secretary receives pay boost - Albuquerque Journal

Cabinet secretary receives pay boost

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

James Kenney, New Mexico environment secretary

SANTA FE – Environment Secretary James Kenney received an 8% raise this spring, pushing his pay higher than other Cabinet secretaries under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, according to state records.

The increase is temporary and may last up to a year – intended to reflect his increased duties during the pandemic, Lujan Grisham press secretary Nora Meyers Sackett said.

Kenney’s agency has coordinated the state’s rapid response program for COVID-19 cases in the workplace.

In a written statement, Sackett said the Environment Department “has been tasked with ensuring the health and safety of workers and customers statewide, including carrying out tens of thousands of rapid responses, running the state’s wastewater surveillance testing program, and coordinating with businesses to ensure safe practices and establish mobile testing programs, all of which Secretary Kenney coordinated and executed.”

The temporary boost changes Kenney’s annual salary to $168,480, up from $156,000 – the standard rate that almost every other Cabinet secretary receives.

For example, Health Secretary Tracie Collins and Human Services Secretary David Scrase – both heavily involved in the pandemic response – make $156,000 a year and haven’t had their salary changed over the last year. Collins joined the administration in December.

Kenney’s raise is reflected in New Mexico’s employee data for March, though it’s unclear precisely when it started. His hourly rate went from $75 in February to $81 in March.

The raise far outpaces what’s been available to most state employees.

This year’s state budget had enough funding to give teachers a 1% raise last summer. State employees generally didn’t get a raise at all, unless they made less than $50,000 a year or fit certain criteria.

Pay raises for the next budget year – starting July 1 – range from 6% for correctional officers to 1.5% for employees of school, higher education and state agencies.

Lujan Grisham faced criticism earlier this year when it was disclosed that eight of her top staffers had received salary increases averaging about 10%. A spokeswoman said the raises had been planned earlier and reflected increased responsibilities, promotions and other changes.

Home » Journal North » Journal North Recent News » Cabinet secretary receives pay boost

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Trump charged over classified documents in 1st federal indictment ...
ABQnews Seeker
MIAMI (AP) -- Donald Trump said ... MIAMI (AP) -- Donald Trump said Thursday that he was indicted for mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate, a remarkable development that makes ...
Dogs and mail carriers really can get along: Here’s ...
ABQnews Seeker
Postal officials urge dog owners to ... Postal officials urge dog owners to take steps to protect carriers on their routes
Security guard accused of stabbing resident at West Side ...
ABQnews Seeker
The man alleges he was staying ... The man alleges he was staying at the Westside Emergency Housing Center when he was stabbed three times by a contracted employee.
New Mexico rolls out education campaign for recreational marijuana ...
ABQnews Seeker
The first batch of billboards is ... The first batch of billboards is now going up around the state while TV, radio, print and digital advertisements will be running through the ...
In the green: Restaurant inspections for May 27 - ...
ABQnews Seeker
Every restaurant was in the green ... Every restaurant was in the green in the May 27-May 21 restaurant inspections, including Smith's on Eubank.
State judge upholds NM secretary of state's authority to ...
ABQnews Seeker
A state judge on Thursday rejected ... A state judge on Thursday rejected a challenge to Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver's authority to determine whether New Mexico laws targeted for ...
Northbound I-25 closed at Jefferson after person fatally struck
ABQnews Seeker
Northbound Interstate 25 was shut down ... Northbound Interstate 25 was shut down at Jefferson Thursday afternoon after a driver fatally struck a person on the highway.
Crews work to extinguish fire in the Sandias
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque residents may see some smoke ... Albuquerque residents may see some smoke on the westside of the Sandias as crews work to extinguish a fire in the Upper Bear Canyon ...
Colorado's most destructive wildfire caused by embers from old ...
ABQnews Seeker
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Embers from ... BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Embers from a smoldering scrap wood fire set days earlier outside a home used by a Christian religious communal group ...