New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has yet to nominate the replacements for three UNM regents, despite their tenures having ended on Dec. 31. With the 60-day state legislative session beginning this week, it might be hard for her to find time to name replacements, who must then be confirmed by a Senate committee before starting work on the Board.
According to the UNM Board of Regents website, the tenures of Regents Jack Fortner and Bradley Hosmer technically ended last month, as well as the tenure of Student Regent Ryan Berryman. Berryman graduated in December, and has since sent an official letter of resignation to Martinez, according to University officials.
However, Fortner and Hosmer are still active regents until they either officially resign or Martinez nominates a replacement, according to the state constitution. That leaves six members on the board, when the constitution calls for seven.
In a similar situation to the U.S. Supreme Court, which currently has only six judges instead of seven, being stuck with an even number of board members could get tricky if no one can break a tie vote.
As far as when new regents will be selected by the governor, all the Daily Lobo has heard from Martinez’s office as of Wednesday afternoon is that “an announcement will follow the governor’s selection.”
The process for appointing student regents, who serve two-year terms, is a bit different, as the University president must submit a shortlist of candidates for the governor to consider. UNM officials say former President Bob Frank – who was ousted from his position following a settlement with the regents last semester – submitted this list during the fall semester.
Hosmer has served as regent since the spring of 2011. If Martinez elects to replace Fortner, however, it would break a historic streak, as he is the only person in the state “ever to be appointed to three consecutive terms,” as well as by three different governors, according to the Board of Regents webpage.
Fortner was first appointed by former Gov. Gary Johnson in 1998, then again by Bill Richardson in 2004 and Martinez in 2010.
David Lynch is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RealDavidLynch.