The two worst governors in this failed state’s history, Republican Susana Martinez and Democrat Bill Richardson, left a corrupt and vile stain on the University of New Mexico. UNM needs to drain the swamp of all appointees of these crooked governors. Cronyism is defined as the practice of awarding jobs to friends or trusted colleagues, especially in politics and between politicians and supportive organizations. This also includes appointing “cronies” to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications. Why does UNM VP for Finance David Harris still have a job, after the LOBO/Scotland/Pit debacles?

The guiding principles of the University of New Mexico include building trust through transparency, truthfulness, responsibility, including the highest standard of ethics.

Last September, The UNM Executive Vice President David Harris angrily stormed out of an KOB interview after being asked about a $1,330.12 tax payer funded dinner at Wing Lei at the Wynn Hotel with a group of donors, including Governor Susana Martinez, former UNM President Bob Frank, UNM Regent President Rob Doughty and UNM’s former VP for Athletics Paul Krebs. Does Harris represent UNM’s principles?

On August 2, 2011, UNM Executive Vice President David Harris, who used to be Chief of Staff for Gov. Bill Richardson, announced the appointment of Carla Domenici as the interim director of UNM Safety and Risk Services, even though Domenici possessed no qualifications in management or safety. The SRS Department lost over three-fourths of its staff. In 2014, an audit showed UNM was not in compliance regarding the Cleary Act. In 2015 UNM became only the second University in the nation to be investigated by the DOJ. UNM is spending $1.5 million dollars (it clearly doesn’t have) on sexual assault training. In 2016 the Daily Lobo reported that UNM had over 30 violations when it comes to the handling, labeling and disposal of hazardous materials. UNM can’t afford this cronyism!

In 2007 Harris also authorized a 50 percent pay raise of $45,000 for Marc Saavedra, the fortunate son of former New Mexico Rep. Kiki Saavedra. When first asked about the raise and informed about the numbers, Harris stated, “I don’t believe that...I don’t think he received a $35,000 increase.”

Saavedra’s salaries/raises were signed by David Harris, even after his 2006 arrest for DWI. Saavedra is the current president of the Council of New Mexico University Presidents. #FortunateSon

In 2008, David Harris was investigated for cronyism in the hiring/promotion of 21 UNM employees, including Billy Sparks who once served as Richardson’s deputy chief of staff. Sparks makes $145,000 a year, but was hired without meeting the written requirements. When the vice president of Human Resources refused to sign off, Harris overruled her. Carlos Romero, who worked with Harris at the New Mexico Finance Authority, received a 14.3 percent raise, no documentation provided. Harris, who worked with Jeremy LaFaver’s father, hired Jeremy without a competitive search and no documentation, stating, “I recommended Jeremy not because I know him, but because he’s got good DNA.”

When a free and fair press confronts the government, that means the system is working. For the past several years, local journalists at the Daily Lobo and ABQ Journal have acted more like sycophants than skeptics and more like stenographers than journalists. It’s tragic that the local news media, including the independent student voice of UNM since 1895, the Daily Lobo, is so cowed by the leaders of this broken down institution.

Brian Fejer

UNM Alumnus