Gov. Susana Martinez named a former cabinet member to the University of New Mexico Board of Regents, a panel that has come under scrutiny in recent months after other Martinez appointees spearheaded the takeover the UNM Health Sciences Center.
Tom Clifford recently retired as cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration. Clifford worked for 20 years in state government, through multiple gubernatorial administrations.
Martinez did not issue a statement on the appointment as she typically does for high-profile appointments. Her office did provide background for Clifford, mentioning his time as the policy and research director for the state’s Taxation and Revenue Department and his ten years working for the federal government.
Martinez announced the appointment of Tom Clifford to the board on Friday afternoon ahead of the long 4th of July weekend.
UNM is the largest university in the state.
UNM President Bob Frank welcomed Clifford to the board in a statement sent Friday afternoon.
“We’ve had the opportunity to work frequently with Dr. Clifford, in role as secretary, over the past few years and have found him to have a great depth and breadth of knowledge, especially in financial and budgetary matters,” Frank said in a statement. “He is deeply ethical and well respected on this campus. He’ll be a great regent for UNM.”
Welcome new #UNM Regent Tom Clifford! Fantastic addition to the BOR and looking forward to working together
— Robert G. Frank (@Lobo_Pres) July 1, 2016
Earlier this week, NM Political Report reported that UNM is considering eliminating jobs or positions after the HSC takeover.
A regent, Rob Doughty, previously promised that there would be no changes for faculty, students or staff with the changes, which removed two community members from governance and brought HSC under more direct control of the regents.