ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Gov. Susana Martinez announced Friday that a former top state budget official, Tom Clifford, will be the new regent for the University of New Mexico.
“Clifford brings 30 years of finance and tax policy experience to the position,” a Governor’s Office news release said.
The seven-member board of regents has been short a member since Jamie Koch retired earlier this year.
Clifford was the former Department of Finance and Administration secretary for Martinez. He left that position earlier this year.
Contacted by phone Friday, Clifford declined to speak to the Journal about his appointment and referred questions to Martinez’s office.
Rob Doughty, president of the UNM Board of Regents, said Clifford is respected across party lines as a budget policy expert.
“He will bring the type of expertise to the UNM Board of Regents that is needed as we look to enact the reforms necessary to improve our graduation rates, ensuring we are equipping our students with the skills they need to fuel economic growth in our state, and being fiscally responsible to students and the people of New Mexico,” Doughty said in a statement to the Journal . “I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Clifford served as Cabinet secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration from 2011 until his retirement in May. He oversaw tax-cut packages passed in 2012, 2013 and 2015, which he said he considered highlights of his tenure.
Clifford previously worked for 20 years in state government. Before his appointment to the Cabinet post, He was policy and research director for the Taxation and Revenue Department.
He also served as chief economist for the Legislative Finance Committee and held high-ranking budgetary positions under former Gov. Gary Johnson.
Clifford also spent 10 years working for the U.S. government and has taught budgeting and finance classes for UNM.