Monday, January 30, 2012

Corrections Nominee Hits Snag

Gov. Susana Martinez's nomination of Gregg Marcantel to be secretary of Corrections apparently has hit a  roadblock.

Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Linda Lopez said in a news release that "Secretary Designate Marcantel background investigation and questionnaire have identified issues that cannot be ignored."

Court records sent with the news release indicate that Marcantel as a Bernalillo County police detective had been one of two detectives in charge of a confidential informant with a record of convictions for rape and kidnapping in Socorro and Albuquerque. According to a civil lawsuit filed in 1997, the informant, at the time he was under the watch of Marcantel and his partner, raped two children.

A court deposition also shows that Marcantel, while working as a corrections officer in Louisiana, had been suspended twice. In a letter to Marcantel, Lopez said these facts were not disclosed on Marcantel's background questionairre.

Lopez has asked Marcantel to testify at a closed-door executive sesseion of the Rules Committee on Wednesday.

However, a spokesman for Martinez calls Lopez's allegations against Marcantel a "smear job."

“The case Senator Lopez is using to smear Gregg Marcantel is the same case in which he was given the nation’s “Top Cop' award by the National Association of Police Organizations. In fact, Marcantel’s actions were deemed so exemplary that he was invited to the White House as a result of the award by President Bill Clinton. 
Furthermore, Secretary-designate Marcantel does not believe this should be discussed in `executive session,' but rather in a public committee meeting and looks forward to defending his integrity against these political attacks. 

Secretary-designate Marcantel is making great strides in professionalizing the Corrections Department and holding those accountable who were allowed to take advantage of taxpayers during the previous administration. He has protected and served the public with great distinction throughout his law enforcement career.” 

Darnell also supplied a quote from Jim and Rita McGrane, the parents of slain Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputy James McGrane, Jr.

 “Gregg Marcantel is a man of impeccable integrity who has dedicated his life to protecting our community. When our son was murdered in the line of duty, then Lt. Marcantel spearheaded the murder investigation and personally went to Mexico to take custody of Michael Paul Astorga. We know Gregg’s character and are sad to learn that someone would personally attack him.”

Marcentel is one of several Martinez cabinet appointees waiting to be confirmed by the Senate. The Rules Committee this morning recommended confirmation of Retta Ward as secretary of Aging & Long-Term Services.