Job Description: This office is essential in ensuring that our state's tax dollars are spent appropriately, and don't somehow leak into the pockets of government employees or politicians. The state auditor watches over and is responsible for the 598 audits done every year in the state, and also approves contracts for outside auditing services.
Term: Four years (maximum two terms)
Office Currently Held By: Domingo Martinez (D), who can’t run again due to term limits. Whoever wins the Democratic primary will run against Daniel U. Alvarez (R) in the November general election.
Thomas Buckner is a candidate whose résumé speaks for itself. Buckner has been involved in banking and banking administration since 1959. He has a Masters in Business Administration and a Bachelors in Finance. Through numerous positions with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), he’s performed audits all around the country. He’s also worked as a bank examiner, has been the chief financial officer of three banks, and has taught business administration at UNM’s Anderson School of Management.
If that weren’t enough, he’s also gone overseas to consult with national banks in the Republic of Georgia, Kazakstan and Indonesia. When he was done with that, he came back to New Mexico to work for Attorney General Patricia Madrid as the chief investigator of the Medical Fraud Control Unit and helped collect back some $200 million. Lastly, he was appointed by Gov. Bill Richardson to be the deputy superintendent of the Regulation and Licensing Division. He is currently on leave without pay from that post while campaigning.
Even more impressive, and relevant, Buckner has 18 years of experience in white-collar fraud investigation. His goals for the office, if elected, are to look more closely at trades being made in the state to ensure “skimming” isn’t taking place; establish a special fraud unit which would be comprised of five people; and institute ethics reform. He says he’d also work to get more people staffed in the office to better deal with the sheer number of audits it has to perform every year.
Buckner is a proactive candidate with solid experience, skills and management abilities. We would be lucky to have him keep a watch on our local dollars, and we whole-heartedly support him.
We have no doubt Jeff Armijo is a good manager, cares deeply about his community and would like to make a positive difference in the state. That said, although his résumé is quite impressive, if you’re a bank considering his loan application, it doesn’t even come close to comparing to his opponent’s in this race.
Armijo is the president and owner of Paradise Travel, Inc., an eight-year-old business. He has a Bachelor of General Studies from New Mexico Mining and Technology. He served in the U.S. Air Force. He has 21 credit hours in accounting classes from TVI. He’s an upstanding guy.
When it comes to what he wants to accomplish in the office, we’re not completely sure. He talks a lot about his “bold new vision” for the State Auditor Office, which would include a new audit strategy and would redo the State Audit Act, but he hasn’t released what that strategy is yet. He says he wants to help protect poor New Mexicans, but doesn’t give any specifics on how he plans to do it. When we asked him for details on his camplaign platform, he told us to visit his website, which he said lists his positions and plans extensively--yet his website is minimal when it comes to those areas. He believes his management skills are what are needed in the auditor’s office—but it would be nice to have someone in the position who could actually do the audits themselves.
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