Keith Gardner didn’t know he was being recorded when he mentioned giving his friend, who probably doesn’t like him, a state job. “Let me get with Ryan and get serious. . . about something. . . might be something. Maybe looking for a state fair manager. I’m about to fire that f*cker. God, they screwed that up.”
Yeah they did!
The friend released the recording. That’s why I’d guess he doesn’t like Gardner. A very similar job at the same office, “Downs Vice President of Corporate Affairs,” (smell that?) was handed to disgraced-for-five-seconds Darren White, who was “public safety director” (some titles just smelllll like politics) of Albuquerque for two years. Now White spends lots of time on Twitter, insulting the best political blogger in the state and pesky reporters at the Santa Fe Reporter, the state capitol’s alt weekly.
The difference between Reporter reporters and the Albuquerque Journal reporters is Reporter reporters don’t wear ties. Also, they care very much about corruption and governmental mismanagement. That’s why Darren White slams them on Twitter—they ask Governor Martinez tough questions, and the governor gave him his job. (White once performed in a Susana Martinez campaign commercial, wearing a “Sheriff” vest even though he wasn’t sheriff anymore.)
A Tweeter, who farts and laughs through ALEC-funded* steak-dinner parties with other insiders. That’s our smooth-operating Darren White. Behold the personification of politics’ biggest problem.
Our schools are mismanaged. Our police departments are mismanaged. Health care is grossly mismanaged. Budgets, mismanaged. Government is failing horribly at high levels, and a common thread is friends of friends getting important jobs. In Susana Martinez’s New Mexico, high paying state jobs rarely go to the best, most qualified candidate. They go to insiders.
Aforementioned foul-mouthed chief of staff Keith Gardner got his wife a $67,000-per-year state job. Former press secretary Scott Darnell did the same thing for his wife. The “Ryan” in that recording excerpt at the top is almost certainly Gardner’s former deputy Ryan Cangiolosi, who left the administration when he was handed a newly created position at UNM Hospital, for a salary bump from $115,000 to $125,000. (Another member of the administration jumped from six-figure government tit under Martinez to higher-six-figure invented-just-for-her UNM job shortly after Cangiolosi’s big score.)
When Cangiolosi got that raise, New Mexico’s political blogging badass Joe Monahan got a letter:
Mr. Monahan, I’m one of the 19 applicants for the UNM Hospital job–the job that Ryan Cangiolosi got. . . .
I have well over a decade of finance and management consulting experience. I have an MBA from a top 15 school. I moved to New Mexico with my husband 6 years ago and have mostly worked out of state because there aren’t many jobs here that pay what I believe I’m worth.
This is why I was excited when a decent job was posted at UNMH. . . I believed I was an extremely competitive candidate given my business background. I didn’t get the job obviously and word started getting around that the offer was made to a senior government official.
It wasn’t until I read the newspaper that I learned the person hired was Ryan Cangiolosi. I have been politically active and have heard his name before (in your blog), but this was the first time I felt compelled to Google him. What I found was this: an extremely weak resume that in no way matches my skills and education. If I could send you my resume (which as I’ve explained that I cannot yet do ) you would see a difference. I have asked friends and they confirm that his real resume is even more weak than what’s portrayed on this online profile. He’s an aspiring gospel singer who has gotten his jobs by attaching himself with politically connected people.
As a New Mexican, I feel like I’ve been screwed out of a job I was more than qualified for due to politics. I’ve been told about cronyism here but this is the first time I’ve experienced it for myself and it sure doesn’t feel good.
Insiders hooking each other up with big-money jobs. This is what they do. And not respecting an inherent duty to hire the best candidates was inevitably gonna reap consequences.
Darren White and the Friends of Susana Martinez take the tax money from our paychecks for themselves. In exchange, they mismanage crucial public services and spend their time tweeting or responding to crises by talking about themselves conjuring excuses.
For more than three times what the reporters covering them get. The reporters covering them are paid by an actual business, after all. The politicians are paid by themselves, with free gas and dinners to boot.
You can’t blame guys like Darren White and Hanna Skandera, the six-figure political animal public schools chief, for taking the money. We give it to them. You just wish they weren’t evil.
T O B E C O N T I N U E D . . .
. . .
. . . P R E S E N T LY
Darren White had to dramatically hand back his golden “public safety director” badge after an incident in which his wife crashed her Porsche and he arrived at the scene to scoop her up and drive away before a proper investigation could happen. From the Albuquerque Journal’s Jeff Proctor and Dan McKay:
According to a police report, Kathleen White told officers and paramedics that she was taking Lamictal for anxiety. According to the Physicians Desk Reference, Lamictal “may cause blurred vision or impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and see clearly.”
Under New Mexico law, it is illegal to drive if impaired by alcohol or any drug “to the slightest degree.”
Darren White scoffs at your laws! Hwahaa!!! Insiders do what they want.
This was my favorite part of that article, where the Albuquerque mayor has to justify whether White’s $120,000 job was even necessary**, then gets asked a question about more tax money being paid out: “If I didn’t think the administration needed one, I wouldn’t have one,” Berry said. “I think the position was very effective with Darren there.” Berry said he didn’t know how much unused leave White would be able to cash out upon retirement.
I’m betting he did all right.
* ALEC writes bills for hack legislators, like the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida and Skandera’s platform here in New Mexico.
** Darren White was not replaced. His job had not been necessary.