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Richardson Sleight of Hand

Somethings never change, and Governor Bill Richardson’s fiscal sleight of hand tricks remains one of them. Granted, the Governor only has time for an occasional visit now and again to the Land of Enchantment, but as this Albuquerque Journal Opinion piece points out Richardson’s legacy is alive and well (subscription):

Gov. Bill Richardson’s Cabinet just got more expensive. His choices to head up the Department of Health and the Department of Higher Education, a new slot under Richardson, together will be paid $156,650 more than their predecessors.

That won’t strain the department budgets, however, because the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University are picking up $379,750 in salaries for three new top officials in the departments.

Jeez, talk about double dipping – it’s ALL TAXPAYER MONEY. But, it gets a whole lot worse. This is a classic example of hiring the fox to watch the hen house:

There are concerns other than financial. These officials oversee the institutions that subsidize their salaries or, in the case of Flores, cover it.

Hmm, I wonder what the Governor’s Ethics Task Force thinks of this classic double dipping, conflict of interest scenario. As I recall, the task force is co-chaired by a member of each of the Universities in question.