‘Can’t be justified’: Leftist editorial board scolds governor over lavish staff raises
On Tuesday, in an unusual turn of events, the far-left editorial board for the liberal Santa Fe New Mexican chastised Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham over the extravagant raises she gave her staff, averaging a 22 percent increase per high-level staffer.
The board wrote, “Take top employees in the Governor’s Office. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has awarded members of her staff whopping salary increases, with raises averaging 22% in recent months. The employees are poised to get another raise in July under the state’s budget, which includes funding for average 6% pay increases across the board.”
“Raises in the Governor’s Office seem especially generous,” the board continued, noting that “it’s not the first time the governor has been generous with taxpayer dollars to reward her favorite colleagues. In 2021, her employees received raises of $7,500 to $12,000 during the pandemic. The increases came at a time when private sector workers were facing pay cuts, furloughs and layoffs.”
“[S]uch hefty raises — done with little notice to the public — can’t be justified in a state as poor as New Mexico. Big raises deserve discussion and, when necessary, pushback. That way, salaries remain within sensible boundaries.”
The board concluded, “Pay increases for statewide elected officials, which we supported, had to be scrutinized through the legislative process. That resulted in a decision to increase salaries for most statewide officials to $144,714 this year, with the governor’s raise from $110,000 to $169,714 postponed until 2027, after Lujan Grisham is out of office.” However, Lujan Grisham vetoed pay increases for judges.
The median income in Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office is $131,950.00, with the lowest-salaried person, a constituent services deputy director, receiving $41,600.00 with the next-highest salary being $58,760 for a “special assistant.” The highest-paid positions in the office are tied at $185,000.
The median household income in New Mexico is $54,020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Even the leftist Santa Fe New Mexican editorial board couldn’t ignore the stark disparity between Lujan Grisham’s office and the average New Mexican.