ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Don Moya is officially no longer chief finance officer at Albuquerque Public Schools – a move his attorney contends is a retaliatory demotion because he filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the district.
District spokesman Rigo Chavez clarified Friday that Moya was reassigned to a financial systems architect position on Dec. 7.
Chavez said Moya did not accept the job, which comes with the same $171,649 salary and benefits as the CFO position.
Moya is on medical leave until Feb. 15 to recover from a motorcycle accident that left him with an injured leg.
His attorney, Kate Ferlic, contends that Moya was demoted for speaking out against a proposed information technology audit and later a lawsuit.
“The hits keep on coming for Don Moya, and he doesn’t deserve it,” Ferlic said. “Albuquerque Public Schools has shown by their actions that they will punish you if you are a whistleblower.”
Beth German, attorney for the APS Board of Education, denied that Moya was demoted during a Thursday court hearing on lawsuit motions.
Moya has not been working at APS since Aug. 7, when then-superintendent Luis Valentino placed him on paid administrative leave shortly after they clashed over the audit.
Tami Coleman was named interim CFO at the time. Chavez said the district has not decided whether she will stay on permanently.
If Moya becomes financial systems architect, he will have fewer managerial responsibilities.
According to a job description, the main focus would be advising the superintendent about systemwide initiatives and major programs in areas such as finance, risk management, human resources and special education.
The CFO has direct oversight of a number of departments: budget, accounting, accounts payable, payroll, procurement and categorical.
Moya was CFO for five years.
Ferlic said he was respected at his job and had a track record of keeping the district in the black.
Moya quickly clashed with Valentino, who came to APS in May and requested the IT audit.
In emails leaked to the media in August, Moya argued that the audit would waste taxpayer money because they already had much of the information. He also questioned the request for proposal process because then-Deputy Superintendent Jason Martinez had first tried to give the work to a company that employed his friend, a disgraced former Denver Public Schools administrator.
Moya filed a lawsuit in late August under the Whistleblower Protection Act naming Valentino, New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera and the APS Board of Education.
Skandera was dismissed from the suit Thursday, because her involvement was connected to her job responsibilities, making her immune.