Thu June 14, 2012
Fallout from Education Department Email Lists Continues
UPDATE 6/15 7:00 AM:
Lawmakers are calling for the state Attorney General to investigate whether a list of non-union teacher email addresses that was compiled by public employees and sent to Governor Susana Martinez's political director constitutes a violation of the law.
From The Albuquerque Journal:
Rep. Rick Miera, D-Albuquerque, said Thursday that he and Sen. Linda Lopez, also an Albuquerque Democrat, plan to ask [Attorney General Gary] King to investigate whether the actions violated the state’s Governmental Conduct Act.
Although the addresses provided were government email addresses, Miera said he was particularly concerned about the privacy concerns of teachers whose names and email addresses were given to [Jay] McCleskey.
“That trust may have been broken,” said Miera, who serves as chairman the House Education Committee and the interim Legislative Education Study Committee.
Lopez, chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee, told the Journal it appears to her that government resources were used for political reasons.
“To me, this is a violation that needs to be looked into,” Lopez said.
Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell said Thursday that the governor does not believe the incident violated the Governmental Conduct Act. He did not elaborate.
UPDATE 6/14 9:00 AM:
Governor Susana Martinez's administration is continuing to receive criticism after reports of state employees use of state computers to produce documents for her political action committee surfaced this week.
From The Santa Fe New Mexican:
The director of a state public-records watchdog group as well as a teachers' union head are upset about the recent revelation that state employees and computers at the Public Education Department were used to compile lists of teachers and their email addresses for Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's political director.
"This just goes to show that there are special rules for special people," Gwyneth Doland, executive director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, said Wednesday.
Doland said it's frustrating for her group's members "to learn that a public employee went to such lengths to manipulate data and create new documents for political purposes when our members so regularly get their IPRA requests denied because [officials say] no such documents currently exist."
The public information officer for the state Public Education Department, Larry Behrens, sent lists of teacher emails, including a list of teachers who work in districts that are not unionized, to the Governor's political director, Jay McClesky. Behrens wrote in an email sent from his personal email address that state workers compiled the lists.
Behrens has said the email was in response to a request from McCleskey. That request was made verbally, Behrens said Tuesday. A McCleskey aide later formally requested mailing addresses for all teachers, but that request was denied by the department's records custodian.
Ellen Bernstein, President of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, also criticized the actions saying they were questionable.