In a shake-up of state government, Gov. Susana Martinez has ordered agencies throughout New Mexico’s bureaucracy to eliminate human resources divisions and shift responsibility for personnel matters to a single office. Martinez had telegraphed the move for months because of a budget crisis that has prompted cuts across New Mexico government. Her order follows through on a recommendation floated many times during the last several decades as a means of streamlining state bureaucracy and cutting costs. But Martinez’s executive decision also puts the jobs of hundreds of government employees in peril at a time when New Mexico’s unemployment rate is among the nation’s highest. A spokesman for the State Personnel Office said it is still assessing how many employees will be affected but added that the move is expected to save millions of dollars each year.
New Mexico’s longest-serving legislator, Rep. Nick Salazar, D-Ohkay Owingeh, as well as former Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela, a Santa Fe Democrat who retired in 2016 after 30 years in the House, have been hospitalized, House Speaker Brian Egolf told lawmakers Wednesday. Salazar, 87, who just began his 23rd term in the House, was driven to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon, said Egolf’s chief of staff, Reena Szczepanski. “He’s being monitored. That’s all I know,” she said.
Filing day took place for candidates for many positions throughout the state—but the main focus is on state representatives and state senators. Two contested primaries with former legislators trying to return to the Roundhouse will likely receive a big amount of attention in the next two months. Related Story: Who’s running for House, Senate seats? Former State Rep. Sandra Jeff of Shiprock is back running for office, this time in the state Senate. Jeff will be taking on incumbent Benny Shendo of Jemez Pueblo in the Democratic primary Senate District 22.