Per Dan McKay and Theresa Davis at the Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico State Engineer John D’Antonio is stepping down.
In doing so, he was sharply critical of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s decision to not ask the New Mexico legislature for increased funding for his depleted department despite booming state revenue:
[H]e cited a persistent lack of financial resources for the Office of the State Engineer and unfunded mandates as factors in his resignation. He expects several senior staff members who are eligible for retirement to announce departures, too.
“We’ve taken the agency as far as we can, given the current agency staffing level and funding resources,” D’Antonio said.
The agency, he said, has the equivalent of 67 fewer employees now than it did under then-Gov. Bill Richardson a decade ago, when D’Antonio served an earlier stint as State Engineer. But his office was still directed to submit a flat budget this year, he said, amid strong growth in projected state revenue.
Not an auspicious future for New Mexico managing a return to megadrought conditions. I have always had utmost respect for John D’Antonio. Having one’s agency funding selectively gutted by those who hired you is a bitter pill to swallow, especially after accepting a call to serve ostensibly because your expertise and experience were respected and desired.