Sallee chosen as LFC director, key voice in steering state’s revenue future

The Legislative Finance Committee unanimously chose longtime staffer Charles Sallee as the new director. Sallee will head the team that helps legislators craft the annual budget.    LFC Chair George Muñoz, D-Gallup, said during brief remarks on Thursday that “this process really sets the state up in how and what direction we’re going to head, especially […]

Sallee chosen as LFC director, key voice in steering state’s revenue future

The Legislative Finance Committee unanimously chose longtime staffer Charles Sallee as the new director. Sallee will head the team that helps legislators craft the annual budget.  

 LFC Chair George Muñoz, D-Gallup, said during brief remarks on Thursday that “this process really sets the state up in how and what direction we’re going to head, especially with our revenues.”

The staff of the committee, led by the director, supports the committee’s development of the annual budget recommendation. The director and staff provides oversight of state agency operations. The director manages a staff of 40 fiscal analysts, economists, and program evaluators in the development of reports on agency management, policy issues, and the fiscal impact of proposed legislation, according to a news release. 

Members of both parties made statements applauding Sallee as the new director. Muñoz said in a statement that “the committee congratulates Charles on being chosen for this important post.”

“It’s been 26 years since the committee has hired a new director and we needed to find someone who could manage fiscal policy with the best interests of 2 million New Mexicans at the forefront. The director must work with the committee and the Legislature to make this state a better place,” he said through a news release.

Sallee is a native of Las Cruces and he has been with LFC since 2005. He has been in the role of interim director since late May. He replaces David Abbey, who many lauded when he announced his retirement this spring. Abbey guided the legislative budgetary process for 25 years.

Sallee served as a program evaluator, deputy director for program evaluation, and deputy director for budget development and fiscal analysis. He has a bachelor’s degree in social work from New Mexico State University and master’s degree in social work administration from Texas State University. 

The LFC asked Sallee questions for about an hour on Thursday morning at the Roundhouse before the LFC went into executive session to make their decision. 

Muñoz said the subcommittee scored each of the four candidates last week according to a scoring rubric that rated the candidate’s qualifications, leadership and management ability, experience in budgetary policy, analysis, research and evaluation, collaboration and communication skills, knowledge of the legal process and their commitment to public service.

He said that any candidate that scored 75 points would receive a final interview before the public on Thursday. The committee interviewed only Sallee.

When Rep. Harry Garcia, D-Grants, asked Sallee what role can the LFC director play to make the committee more accessible to the public, Sallee responded by saying “I’m noting a theme here.”

“What’s important to understand is there is a decision-making process you all go through that needs to be done by you as a body before information can be made available to the public. I’m committed to educating people about that. What goes into the process and how they can participate. Not necessarily formally,” he said.

He also said he is “committed to helping those who can’t pay for lobbyists or have that type of background.”

Sallee highlighted his commitment to public service when state Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, asked why he would be the best fit.

“I’ve been working toward this for 23 years…I worked in the front lines as a social worker so I could understand policy impacts on the people in your community,” he said.

According to Sallee’s LinkedIn page, he started his career as the director of social services at a nursing home in Las Cruces.

State Rep. Derrick Lente, D-Sandia Pueblo, asked Sallee what advice he would give to the committee about creating sustainable state funding for the tribes, describing the current process as “usually a one-off, short term and reimbursable process” that many tribes are in conflict with and which result in large unspent balances.

“We’ve long recognized a problem,” Sallee said.

He said there was an “archaic administrative process” that caused some state funding to be backlogged but that the process “is working better today than a couple of years ago.”

“There are areas of our state with significant needs; we need to figure out what those communities need and deserve,” he said.

State Rep. Gail Armstrong, R-Magdelena, asked Sallee where he sees New Mexico’s economy going in the next five years and how he thinks the legislature should respond to the ups and downs of the economy.

Sallee said he sees “a bright future” for New Mexico. He said there is opportunity to “do things better, bigger, bolder”  with the current revenue and that the state’s balance sheet is the strongest it’s been in 40 years. He said the state can weather a national recession without needing to make painful budget cuts and that the state has insulated itself from the volatility of oil and gas prices.

He said some key advice is to raise individual per capita income, achieve better education, and find new ways of bringing people into the labor market.

“That’s the source of a lot of our poverty,” he said.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Governor to call special session for public safety legislation this summer

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that she will call the Legislature into a special session this summer to address public safety legislation that did…
Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List, a nonprofit that supports women candidates and reproductive rights, endorsed seven incumbents facing general election opponents in New Mexico legislative elections. All…
NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

New Mexico will receive millions in federal money to increase access to solar power. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced recipients of the $7…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…
BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

BLM finalizes controversial public lands rule

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management finalized its controversial public lands rule on Thursday. This rule is controversial because it allows for conservation leasing…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican A challenging task awaits New Mexico lawmakers in the next 30 days: Reconciling three very different…
Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Amy Maxmen, KFF Health News Four years after hospitals in New York City overflowed with covid-19 patients, emergency physician Sonya Stokes remains shaken by…
Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday $10 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act was awarded to six tribal nations and…
Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee discussed a potential constitutional amendment that seeks to limit the governor’s executive powers. The committee approved…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

Stansbury introduces judicial ethics bill on U.S. Supreme Court steps

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury announced a bill on Thursday that would, if enacted, establish judicial ethics to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Judicial Ethics…
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

Abortion fund provider rebrands and holds open house

An abortion fund provider unveiled a rebrand and offered an open house in Las Cruces to celebrate the organization’s new name, mission and values. …
Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

Politics and abortion, how much will it matter?

At the national level, abortion is still a high-stakes issue with both major presidential candidates talking about it in their campaigns, but it may…
How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that an 1864 abortion ban is enforceable, throwing another state bordering New Mexico into the situation of…
Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

By Justin Horwath, NM In Depth It’s a safe bet Democrats will barrel into 2025 with their supremacy intact at the New Mexico Legislature.…
Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Effort to challenge six laws enacted last year comes to an end

Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied and dismissed the effort to challenge six laws enacted in 2023. The New Mexico Supreme…
Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

Vasquez calls out Republicans for ‘inaction’ on border policy

U.S. Rep. Gabriel “Gabe” Vasquez, a Democrat who represents the state’s 2nd Congressional District along the U.S.-Mexico border, cosponsored a resolution on Monday calling…
Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

Progressives going after incumbents in hot Democratic primaries

By Justin Horwath, NM In Depth It’s a safe bet Democrats will barrel into 2025 with their supremacy intact at the New Mexico Legislature.…
NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

NM receives $156M to boost access to solar

New Mexico will receive millions in federal money to increase access to solar power. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced recipients of the $7…
Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

Two PFAS chemicals designated hazardous substances under Superfund law

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule Friday to designate two types of PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. Those two chemicals are perfluorooctanoic…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report