Monday, December 21, 2009
Who Are "The Richardson 59?" Guv Won't Say, But We Come With List Of Laid Off Politicals, Plus: US Attorney Intrigue; Is There A New One Or Not?
Who are the "Richardson 59?" That's become the question du jour as a battle breaks out between the press and the Guv's office over releasing the names of 59 political appointees who have been given their walking papers as part of the state's effort to balance the budget.
Bill's office says it would not be "dignified" to release the names; the press says it has a right to know, and the Alligators say: Why wait? Let's get those names.
Two have previously been revealed, former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron lost her job at Workforce Solutions and Bruce Kohl was given the axe from his post as head of the state's securities division.
Now the Gators come with this exclusive list of more politicals dismissed from Workforce Solutions--the old Labor Department. But keep in mind some of those heading for the exits are retiring or have agreed to move up their retirement dates to January. That will lessen the sting for them. Here's the Workforce Solutions list:
Lloyd Garley of the fiscal division, Francis Ray, Priscilla Martinez, who once was secretary to NM House Speaker Raymond Sanchez, Jim Moran in the workers comp division, Nick Nieto and Randy Romero, brother of political heavyweight Ed Romero.
Former ABQ State Rep. Delano Garcia is also one of the Richardson 59, but we're unclear what agency he worked for.
At NM Expo the hit list, according to our Senior Alligators, includes:
Attorney Nasha Torrez, who took maternity leave and will not return, former ABQ State Rep Al Otero who only recently came to Expo from another state agency, Bob Cooper, who was with the art department, Leo Pacheco, Harry Pavlides who did special projects and is also a longtime NM pollster, and John Hooker, a former mayor of Los Ranchos and an architect who was involved with Expo construction.
So we now appear to know 15 of the 59. The papers should have all of them when they get a chance to look at payroll records early next year, but if reliable readers will email names from other state agencies, we'll release them to the public. Don't worry, Guv. It will be "dignified."
US ATTORNEY: CONTINUING COVERAGE
There's fall out from that little bomb Republican US Attorney Greg Fouratt dropped last week. He indicated a new US Attorney has finally been picked by the Democratic White House and that he and New Mexicans generally would be pleased with the pick. But sources here and in Washington insist there has been no one selected yet for the high-profile post.
It's interesting to note that the ABQ Journal picked up on Fouratt's declaration about a new US Attorney and published a report on its Web site. However, the paper did not put anything in its print editions about the speech or the US Attorney prediction Fouratt made before the ABQ Economic Forum.
The selection of a new US Attorney has been shrouded in even more secrecy than usual because Fouratt's investigations into Big Bill and other Dems has made the White House and NM senior Senator Jeff Bingaman, who has a major say in who will get the job, sensitive to allegations that they would want to remove Fouratt to lower the heat on fellow Dems.
DEEP BACKGROUND FOR YOU
We are told the major contenders for the post have been interviewed by Bingaman and Senator Udall and that there is a short list of five names. My Legal Beagles inform that several of them will be flown to Washington for interviews with representatives from the White House and Justice Department. A final choice will be forwarded to Attorney General Holder. He will interview that person and then give his recommendation to the President. The President decides, with the input of Bingaman, who announces the selection. The US Senate then confirms or rejects the choice.
Insiders say that the short list includes a couple of names that Fouratt likes, including one current assistant US Attorney. If no final selection has indeed been made, was Fouratt, by speaking out, putting pressure on the White House to come with one of his favorites? And if he doesn't actually know who the choice is, was the implication that he would publicly object if it was not a name to his liking? Or does Fouratt actually have it right and the deal for a new US Attorney is done and he is happy as a clam because he is getting someone he wants?
Insiders say Fouratt is likely to stay on with the office when the new US Attorney is named and that means he would also likely be continuing his role as the prosecutor in the corruption cases. Fouratt was a prosecutor with the office before being named to the top job. There is also talk in elite legal circles that Fouratt might be angling for the position of 1st assistant US Attorney, a position akin to a chief deputy.
How much influence, if any, will Fouratt have under the new and presumably Democratic US Attorney? That's the question that Fouratt, the White House and Bingaman appear to be gaming out as this intriguing power play unfolds.
LIGHT GUV DOINGS
It's unlikely that all the Dem candidates for Lt. Governor will be around for the June 1 primary, and it appears ABQ State Senator Linda Lopez could be one to falter early. First, she finished in fifth place at a recent Democratic Party straw poll in Sandoval County, and now she is taking heat for appearing to have had political strings pulled on her behalf to get a part-time job with benefits with Bernalillo County.
All won't be lost, however, if Lopez does indeed retreat from the light guv battle. She remains chair of the powerful state Senate Rules Committee.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2009
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