Friday, December 4, 2009

Wilson questions hirings at NM Health Department

A day after the governor's office announced the layoff of 59 political appointees, a Republican senator is asking questions about "emergency hires" at the New Mexico Health Department.

State Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort (R-Sandia Park) is questioning the DOH's hiring of 90 employees, some of whom she claims are family members of senior department employees, at the same time the administration has a hiring freeze and the state faces budget deficits.

“The magnitude of hires after the freeze of unqualified people who are fast-tracked into training for financial positions is problematic and is creating morale issues,” Beffort said at the Legislative Finance Committee in Santa Fe today.

The senator said she's been told the apparent nepotism is causing morale problems, and that some of the new hires are being trained for permanent, higher level positions ahead of other employees at the department.

“There is dissatisfaction among current, qualified employees who have been waiting for that training so they can improve their careers, instead these new hires who were brought into the Department of Health after the hiring freeze are receiving it,” Beffort said.

A spokesperson for Secretary of Health Alfredo Vigil told us this afternoon:
We have hired critical positions that include individuals who provide direct clinical care, which is an exemption to the hiring freeze. All of our hires have been approved by the State Personnel Office as being critical positions.

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