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Legislative Finance Committee extends timeline for hiring new director

New Mexico Legislature

The powerful Legislative Finance Committee held its first interim meeting this week and appointed Charles Sallee as interim director. The committee is extending its search for a permanent director.

After 26 years as the Legislative Finance Director, David Abbey announced his retirement in March.

Since then, the committee has revised its timeline for selecting a new director to ensure it finds the right candidate.

Legislative Finance Committee Chair George Muñoz (D-Cibola, McKinley & San Juan) said stability is key.

"This is the most unique job in government and the hardest job to do between policy and politics and budgeting and agencies," he said. "So there's nothing wrong with taking our time to select the right person."

The director is the main fiscal advisor for the Legislature, and is responsible for building budget-based solutions for challenges facing New Mexico. The director leads a staff of about 40 that develops spending recommendations and also evaluates the performance of state agencies and programs.

The process will be open-ended to allow for an extensive search. Muñoz noted it could take months. The committee even canceled a meeting on June 5 where it was slated to start interviewing finalists.

Sallee, a native of Las Cruces, has been with the LFC since 2005 and has been performing the duties of the director since Abbey left.

Support for this coverage comes from the Thornburg Foundation and KUNM listeners.

Jeanette DeDios is from the Jicarilla Apache and Diné Nations and grew up in Albuquerque, NM. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2022 where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism, English and Film. She’s a former Local News Fund Fellow. Jeanette can be contacted at jeanettededios@kunm.org or via Twitter @JeanetteDeDios.
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