Richardson Suspends Executive Hiring

New Mexico – Gov. Bill Richardson is suspending all hiring in New Mexico's executive branch for the rest of the year.

Richardson, a Democrat, goes out of office Dec. 31, and the administration of Republican Gov.-elect Susana Martinez takes over with the new year.

Richardson said Sunday he suspended has hiring during the transition.

The state implemented a hiring freeze in November 2008, and the Department of Finance and Administration and the State Personnel Office had to approve exemptions.

But Richardson says from now on, executive branch agencies won't be allowed to hire new employees.

The finance department says 25,500 employees were on the payroll when the hiring freeze began.

In the last pay period, 23,554 people worked for the state.

Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos says about 20,000 are under the governor's control.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.