Las Cruces, NM – Attorney General Patricia Madrid ruled that Governor Richardson can not use forced letters of resignation to remove University Regents.
In January of 2003 New Mexico State Senator Rod Adair took issue with Governor Richardson forcing University Regents to sign an undated letter of resignation. Last July NMSU student regent Felica Ybarra says the Governor threatened to use the letter against her for opposing the interim presidential appointment of Dr. William Flores. At the time of the Ybarra situation, Adair asked the Governor to destroy the letters.
A following incident at the University of New Mexico where Adair says a contract was awarded to friends of the Governor compelled the Republic Senator to request the Attorney General to rule on the constitutionality of the forced resignation letters.
While the Attorney General says they are unconstitutional, the Governor's office says they are ready to challenge her opinion.
Unless there is a case that specifically challenges the Governor's forced letters of resignation it will remain unclear if his unprecedented move is constitutional.
Read the AG release and full opinion: