Put together, the Albuquerque Journal headlines raise serious questions about the stability of state government leadership as we enter Week 4 of the 2023 legislative session:
• “NM General Services Department Secretary John Garcia to step down” (Jan. 26)
• “David Scrase to step down as Human Services Department secretary” (Jan. 27)
• “NM education chief retires as Cabinet turnover continues” (Jan. 28 – and he was the third secretary in four years)
• “A New Mexico deputy education secretary has resigned. She was only on the job for two weeks.” (Feb. 3)
The news stories also note that in recent weeks the state has announced the departures of the deputy superintendent of regulation and licensing, N.M. Medicaid program director and Behavioral Health Collaborative chief executive. And the governor has appointed a new secretary of Finance and Administration (Dec. 13), secretary for veterans services (Jan. 12) and secretary-designate of the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department (Feb. 3).
One might have expected staff changes after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham won reelection in November. But this exodus in the middle of the 2023 session is unusual and unfortunate timing when real expertise is needed to ensure the billions of dollars in record revenue are spent wisely.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.