I've been highly critical of the legislature as a whole, hiding behind the skirts of a governor whose moral authority to govern collapsed more than a year ago, instead of trimming the fat responsibly from state government after a drunken-sailor spending spree that has grossly magnified the effects of the recession on the coffers of state government.
There are, however, some exceptions, and they deserve our praise. This week Sen. Eric Griego, from Bernalillo and Valencia counties, pointed his finger at a scandal that has been more than adequately covered by the Albuquerque Journal, the unprecedented increase in the number of top level administrators earning outrageously high salaries, combined by the arrogant refusal of UNM officials to phase out this gilded club in the face of an unprecedented budgetary shortfall.
Griego's words in an op-ed piece circulated in various media outlets this week:
"UNM needs to reduce the number of its most highly paid administrators and significantly reduce the compensation packages of those who remain. Then and only then, can we ask our students and teachers to take another hit. Then and only then will taxpayers be willing to consider new taxes to support the basics of government--educating our kids, keeping us safe, and taking care of the weakest among us."
Simple words, powerful words.
Are there other legislators who have discovered similar scandals in taxpayer-spent money and who have the moral courage to point them out, even if the governor might not like what you say? Where are you? Where have you been? And does the legislature have the moral courage to make sure UNM responds to the will of the public? We will see.