Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Senate Rules Recommends Marcantel

UPDATE 3:17 pm  The full Senate voted 38-1 to confirm Gregg Marcantel as Corrections secretary.

Despite the concerns of Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Linda Lopez about Corrections Secretary designate Gregg Marcantel, the panel recommended the confirmation of Marcantel for the job. Lopez was the only dissenting vote.
Gregg Marcantel with Senate President Pro-tem Tim Jennings
after Senate Rules Committee hearing Wednesday

Lopez  in a letter to Marcantel released to reporters on Monday, said she was concerned that Marcantel, a career law enforcement officer, had not disclosed a civil lawsuit in which he was a defendant. That suit centers on an informant who earned early release in exchange for information in a drug case; the man later pleaded guilty to raping two children. Marcantel was a detective with the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department at the time

Lopez, in her letter, also said Marcantel hadn't disclosed two suspensions that took place early in his career when he was a corrections officer in Louisiana.

Marcantel told the committee that he wasn't trying to hide anything. He was dropped as a defendant in the civil suit before it was settled he said.

As for the two suspensions, Marcantel said, he said the question on a questionnaire wasn't clear. The question asked whether there had been allegations of sexual harassment or other "workplace misconduct" against him.

The suspensions took place when he was 19 years old he said and "knew nothing more about police work than what I saw on Beretta."

He said he had disclosed those suspensions in previous background checks for law enforcement positions.

"I'm not a great guy," he told reporters after the hearing. "I'm a guy that’s got as many faults as anybody else. But I am going to tell you what I am not, I am not a liar.”

Law enforcement officials from around the state were at the hearing to testify in favor of Marcantel's appointment. These included Public Safety Secretary Gordon Eden and Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston.

Houston told the committee that dealing with confidential informants is one of the uglier sides of law enforcement. "Sometimes to get to the Devil you have to dance with demons," he said.

Marcantel still must be confirmed by the full Senate.