Another day, another eyebrow-raising story about the Richardson administration
“Soft landings” is how the Albuquerque Journal characterizes the contracts Gov. Bill Richardson’s administration gave to two members of his cabinet after they left those public jobs.
The contracts – which some might characterize as “thank-yous” – given to former Information Technology Secretary Roy Soto and former Workforce Solutions Secretary Betty Sparrow Doris after they quit were funded, of course, by taxpayers.
It’s the Journal’s Thomas J. Cole who wrote about the situation today. From his article:
“RLR Resources, the consulting company of former Information Technology Secretary Roy Soto, received a six-month, $49,500 contract from Soto’s old department.
“It was a no-bid contract, of course.
“And former Workforce Solutions Secretary Betty Sparrow Doris received a $100-an-hour, $49,200 contract with her old agency shortly after she left the Cabinet, saying she wanted to spend more time with her family.
“… Under the state Procurement Act, departments can award contracts of up to $50,000 for professional services without seeking competitive proposals.
“Also, state officials can lawfully enter into contracts with their former agencies as long as they didn’t take any actions while in office that led to the contracts.”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez is the only one who’s put out a statement about Cole’s article this far.
“This administration is preparing to raise taxes on families and businesses during a historic recession to make up for the waste, fraud and abuse that has bankrupted our state,” Martinez said. “Instead of cutting off the spigot, Richardson and Denish continue to perpetuate a corrupt system that rewards friends while stealing from taxpayers.”
FYI, the Santa Fe New Mexican’s Kate Nash was the first to write about Doris’ situation.
Because of Martinez’s statement, I’d be reckless if I didn’t point out that the Cole and Nash articles say nothing about Lt. Gov. Diane Denish – the likely Democratic nominee for governor next year – having any role in the contracts given to Soto and Doris. As lieutenant governor, it’s not likely that she did. Trying to tie Denish to this one may be a bit of a stretch.
And, for the record, the two former employees say they didn’t do anything wrong.
Regardless, I sure get tired of publishing articles about these suspicious situations. Do you get tired of reading about them?
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