NAME: Joseph M. Maestas
POLITICAL PARTY: Democratic
OCCUPATION: Chairman, New Mexico Public Regulation Commission
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Santa Fe
RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: New Mexico Public Regulation commissioner, 30+ years as a federal transportation and water resources engineer; and 14 years as an elected official with fiduciary responsibilities — city councilor and mayor of Española; and city councilor in Santa Fe. Proven leadership as past president of N.M. Municipal League, past chair of N.M. Voices for Children, vice chair of Martin Luther King, Jr. State Commission and more. Expertise in accounting, economics, engineering, public and stakeholder engagement, and regulatory work.
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, University of New Mexico; master’s degree in civil engineering, Arizona State University
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Maestas4NM.com
1. What would your top priorities be as state auditor?
Create a dashboard of key indicators to quickly reveal salient fraud, waste and abuse. Target audits where public funding is highest and most impactful like federal infrastructure, education and social services. Protect New Mexico’s most vulnerable by cracking down on exploitative adult guardianships. Safeguard vital data and infrastructure by auditing cybersecurity funding.
2. What would be your criteria for determining when to launch a special audit?
Allegations of fraud, waste and abuse from the public through the state auditor’s confidential hotline. Information from an independent public accountant conducting an annual audit of the public agency in question or information from the public agency itself. Recurring audit findings indicating a lack of internal controls and significant deficiencies.
3. If elected, how would you seek to curtail waste, fraud and financial abuse in New Mexico state and local governments?
Focus on auditing new and large funding programs (e.g., cannabis funding, federal infrastructure, etc.). Work with appropriate organizations like the N.M. Counties and N.M. Municipal League to build capacity for and promote internal public agency measures to prevent financial abuse through best risk mitigation practices like internal auditors and inspectors general.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
3. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If so, explain.