Thursday, March 31, 2011

SOS staffer placed on leave for "offensive" actions

At least one staffer in Secretary of State Dianna Duran's office has been placed on leave after offensive material was found on the office website and sent in a package to Political Action Committees around the state.

The material, which appeared on a sample spreadsheet that was posted yesterday and found today, was apparently being tested on-line. Remarks included in the spreadsheet are being described as racist and included the names of two African-American legislators.

“I was shocked and disappointed to learn that a state employee apparently posted what can be interpreted as racially offensive language in a sample finance report,” Duran said. “I find these actions deeply offensive and I immediately ordered the materials removed and I initiated an investigation."

The name of the staffer was not released to the media.

“It is critical that New Mexicans have faith that the Office of the Secretary of State will protect the rights of all New Mexicans equally and that I will not tolerate any form of racism or bigotry in this office," Duran said.

"Violations of this policy will result in swift and decisive action.”

A news release we received said that Secretary Duran has placed calls to both Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton and Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert, whose names were referenced in the inappropriate posting, to address any concerns they may have.

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