Governor Hands Out More Big Pay Raises for Highly Paid Staff with COVID Funds for at Least One.

Despite the sound of crickets emanating from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s public spin doctors, Roundhouse Movidas and The Candle confirmed from public records that two more big pay raises were given by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to political appointees, holding what are known officially as “exempt” or GOVEX positions in state government.

The five figure pay raises were awarded to insiders, even as the Governor continues to refuse to restore the 4% pay raise she took away from state and school employees last year.

Donnie Quintana, the Division Director of the Local Government Bureau of the Department of Finance and Administration was given a $16,390 increase in annual pay sometime between August 18, 2020 and January 10, 2021.

Frances Lucero, who had worked for the Governor as an executive assistant until recently, was given a job as a grant manager at the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) which included an increase in her annual salary of more than $10,000.

There are more than 4,000 employees of the state who are paid poverty wages of under $15/hour by the Governor.

Lucero is running a program tentatively identified as being funded by COVID – 19 federal funds, and oversees temporary full-time employees for a “special project” at $20/hour per employee.

The Candle called and left a message for Henry Valdez, the DFA Public Information Officer, a week ago, and followed the phone call with an email to Valdez today asking for more detail about those temporary jobs and the so-called “special project.”

Another DFA employee suggested the special project may be for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, but that The Candle needed to get an official response form Valdez.

After a week, though, all we hear from Valdez are crickets.

As has been the case with several of the public information officers and communications directors appointed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Valdez seems to be missing in action relative to questions from The Candle about the governor’s choices for salaries for her political appointees.

More on this story this weekend.