Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced her picks for the state's Public Education Department cabinet last week, handing the reins of the department over to Karen Trujillo, an educator and administrator.
According to a press release from the Office of the Governor, Lujan Grisham made five appointments to the PED leadership team last week. Trujillo, who is currently serving as interim associate dean for research at New Mexico State University's College of Education, has been an educator for over 20 years, serving as a teacher, researcher and professional development specialist.
During a press conference, Trujillo signaled a change in PED policies. “We support teacher pay raises, we support more resources in the schools,” she said. Lujan Grisham also named four deputy secretaries: Kara Bobroff, Tim Hand, Katarina Sandoval and Gwen Perea Warniment. Distinguished Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA, Pedro Noguera was also appointed as a special advisor to Trujillo.
When asked why the governor appointed an unusually large education cabinet, her administration told reporters it showed her commitment to education.
Judges Hear Holtec Waste Site Opponents
Public outcry over a plan to build a temporary storage site for the nation's nuclear waste in New Mexico was heard by state judges last week.
Carlsbad Current Argus reports a hearing by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board convened in Albuquerque last week to hear citizens' concerns over a proposed nuclear waste storage facility that would be located near Carlsbad and Hobbs. The proposal was made by private nuclear technology company Holtec International, which plans to store spent nuclear fuel from the nation's power plants in a consolidated interim storage (CIS) facility until a permanent repository can be made.
Environmentalist groups spoke out against the plan, claiming the plan would conflict with federal laws barring the US Department of Energy from taking title or ownership of nuclear waste. Concerns over public health in the areas surrounding the proposed site were also mentioned.
The hearing was held to determine what organizations would be granted standing during future proceedings. The board will reportedly make its final determinations in March.
APD Limits Officer Overtime
The Albuquerque Police Department is introducing a limit to the amount of overtime officers can work in an attempt to curb overspending.
In an interview with KRQE, APD spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos said the department spent $11.5 million last year paying officers for overtime hours. One program, known as “chief's overtime,” gives businesses the opportunity to pay to have police on-site. For the last 16 months, officers were allowed to work as much chief's overtime as they liked, but the department has now introduced a cap of 25 hours per week. The price for businesses to use the chief's overtime service has also been raised by APD.
Officials will review the change in March to see how it has affected overtime spending.