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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Winter Wonderland: Becomes New Secretary Of State At $85K, Won't Give Up $30K A Year City Council Slot And Also Collects Fat State Pension; Will SOS Be Full-Time Job In Wake Of Duran Scandal Or Part-Time? 

(Moore, Journal)
The greed is good crowd can pop the New Year's champagne corks early. Freshly sworn in Republican Secretary of State Brad Winter shows how it's done. 

He says he will not only collect $85,000 a year for being SOS but apparently will be a part-time one.

He is refusing to give up his ABQ city council seat which pays him $30,000 a year. In addition, Winter, who had a career in public education, draws a hefty state pension that must be well into six figures, based in part on his salary as interim APS superintendent before he retired. Of course, the higher SOS salary will add to another  pension he will eventually get from his years in the PERA plan as an ABQ city councilor. Nice work, if you can get it. . .

When is enough, enough? When did becoming Secretary of State in a presidential election year--any year for that matter--and following one of the office's worst scandals in state history become a part-time "do-it-when-I-damn-well-feel-like-it" job? Didn't Dianna Duran do something similar as she fed her gambling addiction? Well, this looks like a greed addiction, while the Governor says Winter was supposedly brought on to restore stability and "integrity" to the office.

If the double-dealing is legal, what about it being ethical?

And Democratic City Councilor Ken Sanchez defending Winter keeping two jobs says one thing: You will never be Mayor of this city, Ken. Winter needs to resign his council seat and devote himself full-time to defending and advancing the voting rights of the people of this state. Meanwhile, what about the rights of Winter's constituents in his city council district. They are getting shortchanged.

You'll recall Winter also kept his council seat when he was named interim APS superintendent but that was not an elected, statewide office nor did he have to drive 60 miles to Santa Fe to do his job. Still, he shouldn't have been serving two masters then and most certainly should not now--not when public confidence in the SOS is at perhaps its lowest ebb ever.

The Governor's political machine is under the gun as the FBI investigates Martinez political adviser Jay McCleskey. While it is rightly called a machine, the fact is the circle is very tight. Maybe attorney Amy Bailey, a former ABQ city clerk now working at the SOS office and who insiders had pegged as a leading replacement for Duran, just wasn't showing enough fealty to McCleskey and company--the main qualification for any major state government job in New Mexico.

Whatever the case, it is sad to see the Secretary of State office's diminished and  treated like a job on the graveyard shift at Denny's, but then that's par for the course for this gang.

BLASTING BRAD

The state Dem Party took the Winter appointment as an opportunity to get off this blast:

Public documents clearly show that Winter – whom Martinez is tapping to oversee elections and government ethics in New Mexico – paid more than $13,000 to Martinez political consultant Jay McCleskey, who is currently under federal investigation for campaign fundraising irregularities and is known to have set up shell companies to effectively launder money to his business. “We are deeply concerned that Gov. Martinez has appointed to be our state's elections watchdog a man who has clear and direct ties to scandal-ridden political consultant Jay McCleskey,” said Debra Haaland, Democratic Chairwoman. “How can Brad Winter possibly hope to clean up the Martinez Administration’s mess when he’s directly connected to the players in the scandals?”

BernCo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver will soon be off and running for the Dem nomination for Secretary of State. No other Dem candidates have yet surfaced. We'll also watch for R names as Winter has said he won't seek election to the post in 2016.

FROM FACEBOOK

I assume the logic is that since city council don't actually DO anything, keeping that job cannot possibly interfere with the OTHER job.....Pretty unassailable, actually.

AN ISIS LICENSE?

Reader Steve Crespin writes writes:

Joe: It is being reported the ISIS terrorists now have a passport printing machine that is allowing terrorists to board airlines. If the the governor and the legislature can't solve our Real ID problem with our New Mexico driver's licenses, maybe they can hire ISIS to print  licenses that will work for us.

 GIVE CREDIT

 Theresa Trujeque writes:

I can not believe that you printed the comments from reader John. I find it amusing that he said Gary King would have done a better job than Hector. How many cases did Gary prosecute in the entire 8 years he was in office? Very few that I recall and you were one of his most vocal critics for being ineffective as Attorney General. I want to know how many Attorney General's have had the guts to take on a political figure and one connected to the residing Governor. Please give credit where credit is due. 

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