Bill calls for statewide inspector general

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A state senator is proposing New Mexico hire a statewide inspector general.

Senator Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, prefiled SB 41, which would appropriate $500,000 to pay for establishing the new office. The state inspector general would be appointed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.

“I think on both sides of the aisle, people are disgusted with what we’re seeing and our only responsibility is to the people of New Mexico,” Padilla said. “This is going to be one of those offices that actually helps clean up state government.”

While certain state agencies already have inspector generals of their own, Padilla says an independent body would help whistle blowers feel more comfortable.

“This particular office is going to be completely independent of any other agency within government, so therefore it’ll be a safe and independent place for people to report things,” Padilla said.

The city of Albuquerque has an inspector general of its own. In the past two years that office has looked into BioPark cashiers pocketing cash, a building inspector inspecting his own work and APD’s questionable camera contract with Taser.

Proposals to create a statewide inspector general haven’t had much traction in the past. Attempts in 2013, 2014 and 2015 didn’t make it out of the Senate. If this bill is approved, the state inspector general would be chosen and in place before 2017.

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