Governor Plays Santa, Giving $7,800 to $18,500 Pay Raises to Personal Staff – While Proposing 3% Raise for Teachers and Most State Employees

One staffer, former Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez got his holiday bump early, receiving his pay raise of $10,000/year some time in October.

Others got their raises between December 1, 2023 and early this year.

Not a bad Holiday present from the Governor who has a penchant for providing large pay increases for her personal staff.

As she did in the Spring of 2020 (while explaining to state employees that, because of the uncertainties of COVID, they would not receive the 4% raise promised them by her and the legislature), Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham recently, and quietly, gave raises of between $7,800 to $18,500 to her immediate staff.

Lujan Grisham provided these significant pay raises to at least five of her office staff, while writing in her recent budget message to the legislature that she would limit teachers and most employees that work for the state to a 3% raise starting next July.

(Interestingly, those in her office who received a pay raise some time over the holidays would see their new salaries boosted yet again in July by the 3%, or whatever percentage increase is passed into law next month.)

Here is a breakdown of those receiving the raises that The Candle was able to verify from the most recent state payroll records – more to come on this in the days ahead.

Staff Member and Title Previous Annual PayNew Annual PayAnnual Increase Percentage Increase
Caroline Buerkle – Director of Cabinet Affairs$185,494$204,048$18,55410%
Madeleine Hayden – Director of Communications$127,200$140,000$12,80010%
Donicia Herrera – Legal Assistant III$79,498$90,000$10,50213%
Martin Chavez – Special Director$162,373$172,372$10,0006%
Vanessa Kennedy – Constituent Services Director$127,200$135,000$7,8006%