|Keith Gardner speaks eloquently about his management of state government.|
The one person many people seem to forget about is the governor’s chief of staff Keith Gardner. Gardner recently was brought into the spotlight when his candid conversation with friend and Roswell fire official Brian Powell. Powell recorded the October 2011 conversation and it was released by Albuquerque attorney Sam Bregman on September 7th. In the conversation Gardner revealed that he does not use the state email system for anything to avoid going, “to court or jail.” Not sure what state business Gardner is doing that might send him to jail but by judging what is going on at the New Mexico Department of Health that wouldn’t surprise any of us. In the same conversation Gardner also manages to call state senator Tim Jennings a “prick” and a “cock sucking son of a bitch.” The recorded conversation didn’t win Keith any friends and probably alienated anyone who dealt with him in Roswell, his hometown.
The conversation highlighted the type of administration that governor Martinez and Gardner is running. Gardner offered to get Powell’s wife a classified job in state government which would be a violation of State Personnel Office (SPO) rules.
Gardner also offered Powell a job with the state and inferred he could take the job of State Fair Manager which Daniel Mourning currently makes $85,000 a year. Gardner says about Mourning,” I’m about to fire that fucker. I’m so pissed. God they screwed up, those guys could screw up a wet dream. So many headaches. “ Looks like friendship has its benefits. Gardner makes this clear when he discusses the hiring of DOH CIO Aimee Barabe as shown in this exchange:
Gardner: Oh shit, I hired a PIO away from a public relations firm and next thing you know I’m getting hit.
Powell: You are?
Gardner: Yeah. Because she is my friend.
Powell: Who is?
Gardner: Her name is Aimee Barabe. And they are like, “Oh she gets a sweet job because she is friends with Keith Gardner. But it is a one day hit. I don’t give a shit. Why can’t I put people in there that I trust? That is what my job is.
This brings us to the hiring of DOH cabinet secretary Dr. Catherine Torres and education secretary Hanna Skandera, who has no experience as an educator. Gardner doesn’t mention them specifically but now we have some insight into how these people were hired despite the fact that when Governor Martinez stumped during the 2010 campaign season and said that they would hire the most qualified people to fill position. Gardner rambles, “We kept looking for fucking people with tons of expertise. I don’t give a shit about your expertise.” It also dheds some light onto how deputy secretary Jim Green got his job through his brother-in-law Eddie Binder who certainly has some pull in the republican party. This clip really shows how things are done in the Martinez administration with Keith Gardner calling the shots.
The language though out the recording is quite crude for someone who is a Mormon. The Latter Day Saints even say that using profanity is breaking a commandment from God and that’s according to Brigham Young Universty’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism.
Couldn’t tell you if Keith Gardner is currently on LDS’s rolls but someone somewhere must be disappointed with this conversation and I am willing to wager Governor Susana Martinez is one of those people.
Just in case Gardner or Martinez was to say that any of these clips were taken out of context here is the full one hour thirteen minute conversation edited by Joe Monahan. The only editing was to beep out the names of minors involved a court case Gardner and Powell also discussed.
Download the whole conversation here. (47mb)
Powell and Gardner are (were) friends. An interesting point to notice is that a friend felt like he needed to record their conversation. Even Gardner’s friends don’t trust him.
The entire conversation certainly gives us a better understanding why things are even more dysfunctional at DOH than they have been in previous years. Loyalty is being rewarded no matter how misplaced. Dr. Torres appears to have gotten her management directives from Keith Gardner and is taking care of the most loyal employees through reclassification of jobs to get pay increases when most employees haven’t seen a pay raise in several years, not even a cost of living increase. Loyalty does not coincide with honesty or integrity which has been missing since Dr. Torres has arrived at DOH and she immediately coddled the individuals at DOH that also lack honesty and integrity and she hasn’t looked back. These same people would befriend Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin if it was to their benefit but loyalty is paramount above all.
Much thanks goes out to our technical people for getting the audio clips together and embedding them for this post.
DOH Nation, are the pieces falling into place now? Have a thought or opinion? Share it below.