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Split Appears Among Newly Elected NM Regulatory Commission

Split Appears Among Newly Elected NM Regulatory Commission

With a new combination of regulators this year on the elected five-member New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC), a split among the group surfaced recently when two of the commissioners walked out of a closed session that resulted in the firing of two top PRC staff members. The chief of staff and administrative director were let go on 3-0 votes, and a new acting staff head was named from among existing staff.

The three-member majority rejected a proposal from two of its colleagues to deal with the personnel issue in public session. The two minority members -- David King and Lynda Lovejoy -- later walked out of the closed session, according to a report in the Albuquerque Journal.

"I think it sends the wrong message to the people of New Mexico that we are playing politics," King told the Journal in its report of the incident last Thursday.

No reasons were given for the firings by the majority of the PRC commissioners; E. Shirley Baca, Ben Lujan and Jason Marks. They agreed to terminate chief of staff Patrick Baca (no relation to the commissioner) and administrative services director Lorenzo Garcia. Baca plans to take legal action, the Journal reported.

A 16-year PRC employee, Danny Mayfield was named acting chief of staff. He was an assistant to a former commissioner who left the regulatory body.

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