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APS cuts ties with former chief financial officer

Don Moya

Don Moya.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Public Schools has cut ties to former Chief Financial Officer Don Moya, who filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the district last summer.

Moya’s contract was not renewed April 12 because he did not return to APS when his annual and sick leave ran out April 1, according to APS spokesman Rigo Chavez.

The former CFO broke both legs in a serious motorcycle accident last fall, and his attorney, Kate Ferlic, argues that APS is taking advantage of his poor health.

Moya’s doctor submitted letters to APS saying he would not be well enough to work until May 3, but Moya was trying to get another appointment so he could be re-evaluated and, hopefully, meet the April 1 deadline, according to Ferlic.

“We communicated this to the district lawyers,” Ferlic said in an emailed statement. “It is unfortunate that APS has decided to take advantage of Mr. Moya’s injuries from an unrelated motorcycle accident and terminated him against the advice of his doctors.”

Under state statute, Moya had five days to appeal the contract decision.

Moya requested medical leave Dec. 7, when APS ended his paid administrative leave and told him to come back in a new role, financial systems architect.

To Ferlic, it was a clear retaliatory demotion.

Moya would have maintained his $171,649 salary in the new job, which involves advising the superintendent about the financial and risk management systems.

Instead, APS distributed the financial systems architect’s duties among other employees and has no plans to fill the position, Chavez said.

Tami Coleman will continue as interim CFO, and there is no timeline for a permanent decision about the job.

In total, it’s been over eight months since Moya has worked at APS Central Office, adding up to $114,000 in payments during his leave.

Then-Superintendent Luis Valentino put Moya on paid administrative leave Aug. 7 after the two tangled over proposed departmental audits.

Earlier that day, Valentino had attempted to text Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera that he planned to “go after” Moya for running “roughshot.” The text accidentally went to Moya, who distributed it to the media.

In mid-August, Moya filed a whistleblower lawsuit, contending that he experienced retaliation for speaking out against taxpayer waste and questionable ties between then-Deputy Superintendent Jason Martinez and a potential vendor.

With Moya gone, none of the players in the saga are working for APS.

Martinez resigned Aug. 18 amid revelations that he was facing child sex assault and assault charges in Denver. Valentino stepped down Aug. 31 with an $80,000 buyout and positive letter of reference.